Man gifted AC after living 15 years without one in North Fort Myers

Imagine not having air conditioning for almost two decades. In Florida, it’s one thing most of us can’t live without, and one man lived that way until a community organization stepped in to help.

Jon Smith lived in his North Fort Myers house for 15 years without an AC unit. He calls it his “hot box.”

“There are some days you get physically sick from the heat,” Smith said.

That’s over now. Smith, who lives with physical disability, will sleep in cool comfort Monday night.

“It was a nurse that was coming to change my bandages, and he was really, really hot, and that’s sort of where it all started,” Smith said.

That nurse connected Smith with Builders Care, a division of Lee Building Industry Association. The organization provides help to senior community members in need of support or homeowners with disabilities at no cost.

Builders Care teamed up with St. Clair’s Custom Air and Ferguson HVAC to surprise Smith.

“We go home, we turn the AC on, and we go to bed,” Charlie said. “Fifteen years this guy hasn’t been able to do that.”

“I’m still kind of shocked,” Smith said. “I kind of plan out everything, and it wasn’t planned.”

Crystal Stouten with Builders Care loves to see a simple act of kindness change someone’s life.

“You kind of take it for granted when you are healthy, and you don’t realize something so small can make such a big huge impact on someone,” Stouten said.

“It’s going to make living a whole lot better because laying in bed all night sweating it’s not fun,” Smith said.

When we asked Smith what he’s going to do with his new AC, he said, “Turn it on,” with a laugh.

If you know someone 65 and over or with a disability who can’t afford a simple repair or upgrade to their home, Builders Care might be able to help.

Reporter:Nicole Gabe
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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