Salvation from the heat - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Salvation from the heat

August 8, 2007

Albany--  We are in the grips of a record-breaking heat wave. Wednesday in Albany we got up to 103, the third straight day we've set a record high. You can probably avoid the heat in the comfort of your air conditioned home but some people don't have that luxury. People without a home of their own have to go the extra step to avoid being left out in the dangerous heat.

Imagine walking around for hours in high heat and bright sunshine. Wayman Braswell does it but not by choice.

"It makes it a bit difficult," said Braswell.

During the dangerous heat of the day he has to walk the streets of Albany and find cool relief any way he can. "I drink a lot of water, one thing and the second thing is trying to get into some establishments whether it's DFACS or the library," said Braswell.

At night he gets to take off his shoes and rest his feet in his own temporary bed. "It feels good. It feels good," said Braswell.

This week, nearly all of the beds in the Salvation Army's male shelter have been full. "We have a lot of people who seek shelter from the heat," said Captain McClure, "the previous evening I think we had three beds open and this is about a 40 bed shelter."

Captain Douglas McClure says even at night the temperatures can be unbearable. "It's extremely hot, extremely hot. And a lot of the guys come in and they're completely covered from head to toe in sweat." 

That's why they don't mind providing a meal, a bed or even something as simple as a cup of water in times of need. "A lot of them are just down on their luck, they've had a bad time and sometimes been kicked out by family or lost their job. They get a chance to stay here for a couple of days or even a couple of weeks and get a chance to get back on their feet," said McClure.

The shelter is air-conditioned and a single fan makes it even more comfortable. From 7:30 at night to 7:30 in the morning, Braswell has a cool place to sleep. But then it's back to the drawing board.

"It's 90 in the morning until late in the evening, it's kind of unbearable," said Braswell.

He hopes to soon find permanent relief from both the South Georgia heat and circumstances.

This week, The Salvation Army is letting people in earlier than usual to escape the heat. They also try to help people with utility assistance in the summer. This is the time when the most help is needed but unfortunately it's the time when donations are lowest.

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