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Feeling Good About Tracy

Help to withstand a heat wave

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One of the best means of communication in any city is an afternoon in a beauty salon.

Not long ago, a widowed senior was commenting on the weather with her hairdresser and spoke of her difficulties in dealing with no air conditioning in the Tracy heat. The hairdresser said she had another client who was part of a group that helped seniors and gave the senior Kathy Bergthold’s name and phone number. Soon, Kathy, representing the Tracy Seniors Association, visited and found the senior’s air conditioning had not worked for several years. The senior had no extra money or means of getting it repaired. Widowed and without family to help her, she coped by using wet towels and a couple of fans.

Calls were made, and the head of the Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning Department at Stockton’s UEI College, Cash Bryan, visited and confirmed that the air conditioning system would need to be replaced. Environmental Protection Agency refrigerant rules and California Home Energy Rating System Program’s ductwork requirements meant the replacement would be $8,000 to $12,000 for her small home, depending on the condition of the existing ductwork. A cost well beyond her income.

After a visit by the Tracy Seniors Association needs and resources evaluator, the best solution seemed to be a window air conditioning unit. At least one room could be kept reasonably cool. The association also knew that Home Depot has a reputation for its special interest in helping veterans and their widows. In this case, the senior qualified and an air conditioning unit was donated thanks to Steven Campbell, an assistant manager. A volunteer handyman from the Tracy Seniors Association found some additional helpers and, by late that Friday night, just before a weekend of temps over 100, the installation was completed.

A few weeks later, our senior still finds it hard to believe that so many people were willing to help her.

Feeling Good About Tracy is a new column highlighting people helping people in town.  If you have a story to share, send it to with “Feeling Good About Tracy” in the subject line. Photos are welcome.

This week’s contributor is Ron Pepperman, Tracy Seniors Association treasurer. To learn more about the Tracy Seniors Association, visit or call 815-1101.

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