President of bike club had a cool idea to help needy

In the midst of the summer heat a few years ago, Johnny Beard wasn't thinking about keeping himself cool.

Julian Moffett (left) and Johnny Beard, members of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club of Augusta, load a van with fans for elderly members of First Mount Moriah Baptist Church.  Nikasha Dicks/Staff
Nikasha Dicks/Staff
Julian Moffett (left) and Johnny Beard, members of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club of Augusta, load a van with fans for elderly members of First Mount Moriah Baptist Church.

"The only thing I could think of was our senior citizens who don't have air conditioners or fans they can turn on when it gets hot," he said.

That concern led to the annual fan and air conditioner giveaway sponsored by the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club of Augusta. Mr. Beard is the president.

On Saturday, the organization passed out more than 220 fans at area community and recreational centers and installed 10 air conditioners in homes during its third annual giveaway. The Augusta Recreation and Parks Department helped the group identify people who needed help the most.

"For those receiving air conditioners, we went out to their homes to do an evaluation," said Robert Howard, the assistant director of the parks department.

"Some of the homes we went to, it was so hot I don't see how they lived in the home without cool air. This means a lot to people, and we are lucky to have such a group in the Augusta area."

Carolyn Washington, who picked up a fan for an elderly friend, agreed about the importance of the giveaway.

"This is truly wonderful for people who can't afford to get these things," she said. "There are people who are struggling and dealing with the heat every day inside their homes. Something as simple as a fan can be their lifesaver."

Knowing the impact the organization is making on the community makes the effort worthwhile, Mr. Beard said.

"It lets us know that people appreciate what we do," he said. "As long as there continues to be a need for this, we will continue to have this giveaway."

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.

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