It’s Not The Heat
I’ll stop the world and melt with you. While that is a catchy 80’s post-punk era tune, it is not a great way to spend a day at work. Unfortunately, we can’t stop the world from delivering injured animals to us here at Peace River Wildlife Center, but it does feel like we are melting. Our air conditioner is wheezing its last rattling gasp. Mornings greet us with a breath of tepid air falling out of the vents like it doesn’t have the energy to cross the room, and the staff can relate. By midday it is stifling in the hospital and office. We often make up excuses to run outside for a breath of fresh air—and it is 98° in the shade out there!
4 Seasons Air Conditioning in Port Charlotte has been servicing our air conditioners for years at no charge. Owner, Greg Hamilton, is a previous executive director of PRWC and has been a major supporter of the wildlife rehabilitation facility for many years. Lest you think I am complaining about the manner in which his company maintains our units, be aware that the device in question is over 14 years old and runs nearly constantly in a very poorly insulated building. Not long after a recent preventative maintenance visit, we noticed the coil was freezing up. 4 Seasons immediately sent out a service technician. He did what he could to help the unit limp along, but declared that it was on its last leg.
Since PRWC is a nonprofit with no state or federal funding, we rely on donations to achieve our mission of getting injured and orphaned wildlife healthy enough to release back out into the wild. Purchasing a new air conditioner would put a huge dent in our shoestring budget, but it is not optional equipment here in the Deep South. Our staff members are not the only ones suffering from the heat. Our most critical patients in the hospital need to be kept at a constantly regulated temperature. Even our computers and electronics are starting to show signs of overheating.
Calls go out to many local air conditioning companies. We need at least three quotes for the board of directors before we can get approval to spend such a relatively large amount of money. Most of the companies are sympathetic to our cause and our needs and give us generous quotes ranging from $3,000 to $5,000. 4 Seasons went a step beyond the others. Their sales manager, Valerie Hamilton, owner Greg’s daughter, called the manufacturer Goodman and explained the situation. Goodman and 4 Seasons split the cost of a new unit and 4 Seasons provided all the labour to install it at no charge to PRWC.
Tyler Hamilton, Greg’s son, and Roger Lynn spend a grueling five hours installing the unit shoved into a tiny corner surrounded by a desk, a bookshelf and a freezer. They endure stepping over rehabbers feeding baby birds and mammals, weaving around volunteers chopping fruits and veggies, and being brushed aside by the occasional emergency broken wing wrap. Tyler and Roger not only install the new AC, but repair the structural problems in the floor, wall, and ducts that undoubtedly helped lead to the demise of the previous unit.
4 Seasons Air Conditioning is a wonderful example of a local company, owned and operated by a compassionate family that works together for the good of the community. In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humility.” From the delightfully cool office, we can genuinely say that PRWC is honoured to be the recipient of such benevolence.
by– Robin Jenkins, DVM