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Elderly Raleigh Woman Receives New Air Conditioner

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RALEIGH, N.C. — An elderly Raleigh woman who had to weather Tuesday's high temperatures because her air conditioner had been stolen received a new unit Tuesday night, less than two hours after her story aired on WRAL-TV's evening newscast.

The Wake County Sheriff's Office said it received an overwhelming number of inquiries from television viewers offering to purchase and install a new air conditioner for 87-year-old Rebecca Hinton.

Dan Bagwell, of Fuquay-Varina, contacted the sheriff's office and arrived at Hinton's home at about 8 p.m. The air conditioner was installed about 30 minutes later.

Hinton said she is extremely happy.

After a recent stay in the hospital, Hinton returned home to find her air-conditioning unit gone from the window. Apparently, someone stole it while she was away.

"I don't get angry at everything, but I was disappointed," Hinton told WRAL earlier Tuesday. "I was disappointed because I didn't think people would be so low to steal a garbage can and an air condition."

Hinton said she managed the heat by closing her blinds and using fans to stay cool in her Raleigh home.

"I stay cool. I stay under the fan in my bedroom," she said. "I don't go too far, because the doctor told me don't go too far."

As she and about 40 other elderly residents deal with the high temperatures, the Wake County Sheriff's Office checks in with them by phone every day. It's part of the department's Well-Check Citizens program.

Residents are contacted by an automated system daily and visited by a deputy at least once a month. But during the heat, the office is personally calling residents to make sure they are OK.

"When this heat gets this hot, we feel like we need to check on them to make sure they're OK," said Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison. "When the heat is as hot as it is, you don't know when you're old like that what's going to happen to you."

"It makes you feel good, and you know you're safe," Hinton said. "It means a lot, it means a whole lot to me."


Amanda Lamb, Reporter
Chad Flowers, Photographer
Kelly Gardner, Web Editor

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