Deputies install AC unit for Central Texas couple in need
HVAC repair isn’t in their job description or duties, however, when a disabled couple’s air conditioner broke, two Central Texas deputies didn’t hesitate to help.
“That’s what we’re here for - public service,” said Limestone County Sheriff’s Deputy Rashad Smith.
Smith and his partner, Deputy Candy Moreno, were sent on a welfare check at a home near Lake Limestone where an elderly couple’s AC unit stopped working.
"It just went out all at once and I was terrified,” said Peggy Cook.
A nephew sent Peggy and her husband a new AC unit, but they were stuck.
"I told him I tried to lift it, but I couldn't lift that heavy thing,” said Richard Cook.
Richard has trouble walking and Peggy has lung cancer, and with the temperature rising and no family nearby, the Cooks started to panic.
"I have a serious condition where my lung is cozying up to my bronchia, if I get too upset, (or) too hot, it could just close off,” said Peggy. "We hid out in the bedroom, there's a small air conditioner in there.”
In hopes of getting them help, Peggy’s sister called the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office.
“It was hot,” said Smith.
When responding to the welfare call, Smith and Moreno installed the AC unit for the Cooks.
"They was thanking us for coming out and that they would be able to sit down in their living room for the rest of the day and watch TV in cool air,” said Smith. “We were prepared to help.”
From changing tires to even helping setup someone’s cable box, the deputies say they do “this sort of thing” all the time.
"That's one thing I love about this agency is that they encourage us to do it so much instead of just going call to call and running traffic,” said Moreno.
Both Moreno and Smith have worked for other local agencies, and both said not all of them have the same philosophy.
"We don't ignore calls, we’re going to go and we're going to do the very best service that we can provide, whatever that call is,” said Limestone County Sheriff Dennis Wilson. "We are servants, it's our duty to go out and serve, it's not just the criminal side of it."
A self-proclaimed Facebook junkie, Wilson said he learned what his deputies had done through a post on the agency’s page.
"When I saw that on the Facebook page - that was a home run for me because that's something that our guys do get encouraged to do daily, to get out of that car, shake hands, (and) find somebody to help,” said Wilson. "We enforce the law, but our first duty is to our citizens of Limestone County and to make sure we provide them with the very best that we have."
Residents of Limestone County for 18 years, the Cooks used to live in the Houston-area, and said they probably wouldn’t have received the same level of service there.
“I was grateful,” said Richard.
Smith and Moreno encouraged residents to call them whenever they need help.
"The more the community can trust in us to help them through, they'll call us more when something does go wrong,” said Moreno.
"Don't be ashamed and feel like your call isn't important, just call us and we'll figure something out together, that’s our job,” said Smith.
While they humbly disagree, people are calling the deputies heroes.
“I think they are,” said Peggy. “They’re life savers.”