Am I a journalist or a story teller? As I reflect, I can see I've done some of both on this blog over the years. I do feel more comfortable telling my stories than reporting others', so I'll tell you one today.
A few years back, I somehow got it into my head that people with developmental disabilities in Portland need air conditioning in the summer. I sent out a email to all the Portlanders in my email address book, requesting new or used air conditioners for this purpose. I knew that finding folks to give them to would be easier than finding the air conditioners themselves. I was surprised that within a few days I had 4 used air conditioners at my disposal!
I found 4 people who needed them (with ease). As I carried these units into people's homes, I noticed my back began to bother me some, but I still installed the units over the course of 2 afternoons. At the end of the 2nd afternoon my back was hurting me, so I took a few days off. During this time, I was able to build a partnership with United Way (through my wife) and Standard TV and Appliance. Suddenly I had 8 NEW units and 8 more donated used units!
My back was telling me I needed help in carrying these beasts, if I expected it to cooperate with me, and I found someone to help me. Of course this person was only available Mon. through Fri. between the hours of 9AM to 5PM, because those were his work hours. I guess he wanted to make sure he got paid for helping me. Once we identified some folks who needed AC we set about installing them. I'll never forget how grateful these people were when we plugged the units in, and they felt that first cool breeze.
Once I got a list of folks who needed them I decided I would install a few on my own, as they were people who weren't around during the day. Big mistake... as my back had promised, it stopped cooperating. Fortunately, it was at the end of installing the last one, but that was the end of "Operation Cool Air". My air conditioner carrying days are officially over...