By Cristin Ross

Temperatures are already climbing to summertime highs, though summer doesn’t officially start until June 21.

That means certain people are now in danger of heat stroke. Rusk’s Rotary Club has kicked off its annual “Fans For The Elderly” drive to keep Rusk’s elderly safe from the rising mercury.

“Both Harry’s Building Materials of Rusk and Wallace-Thompson Hardware have agreed to sell 20-inch box fans for the near-wholesale price of $15,” Rotary member Roy Reynolds stated in a release to the Progress. “When a fan is purchased, it will be tagged and kept at the store until the members of Rusk’s Rotary pick them up for distribution to the elderly who may need them.

“Remember, there are many people in the community who need help, and many of them too proud to admit that they need a fan to ward off the oppressive Texas heat.”

People who need fans may sign up to receive one at the Good Samaritan, 203 West Second St., in Rusk. Delivery is available.

According to the Center for Disease Control, each year in the U.S., approximately 400 deaths are attributed to excessive natural heat; these deaths are preventable.

“Infants, elderly persons, socially isolated persons, bedridden persons and persons with certain mental and chronic illnesses are at highest risk,” the CDC’s Web site states. “The elderly, especially those more than 80 years of age, are susceptible to heat-related illness, because they are less able to adjust to physiologic changes that occur with exposure to excessive heat and are more likely to be taking medication for chronic illness that increase the risk for heat-related illness.”

To donate a fan or funds for a fan, call Rusk Rotary President Toni Meador at 903-683-8899.

“The Rotary Club of Rusk wants to see to it all the elderly who need fans will get them,” Reynolds said.

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