EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) — Temperatures in parts of Oklahoma dropped as low as -12 degrees as polar cold stretched across the country and down into Texas last month.
With temperatures dropping day after day toward dangerous levels, Jennifer Webster said people would line up all day at her Conscious Community Co-op in Edmond, Oklahoma to refill propane tanks with gas needed to heat their homes.
“We had people driving from Texas…from the border…to get propane because a lot of other companies quit filling,” Webster said. “I mean, you would have a thought we were in Russia with breadlines, but it was lines for propane.”
With many businesses closed because of the storm, the co-op became one of the few places left during the Siberian slam able to sell propane. Webster says she knew how dire the situation was.
“32 degrees you get blankets and candles and gut it out,” she said. “Five degrees or -11, you die,” she said.
So, she and some employees stood in the dangerously cold weather and filled propane bottles over and over. They gave away propane for free to those who couldn’t afford it.
Once their tank ran it out, they’d wait for a delivery truck top refill the tank and get back to work.
After word got out to the community about the need for propane, donations started coming in to help.
“I think it clicked in people’s minds that, ‘Oh, my gosh. This weather is dangerous. These people literally could die or have to choose between heat and hunger,’” Webster said.
Some donated a few bucks, others hundreds, even thousands of dollars to keep the propane tank full to fill the bottles of desperate residents.
“Man, you would see grown men cry…you’d see them say, ‘I haven’t worked in two weeks…and now the $20 I was going to spend on propane, I can go get food.’ It was staggering,” Webster said.
For all her good work, Webster was given a cash gift by NewsNation affiliate KFOR-TV – along with thanks from a grateful community.