Longtime residents of Ely know that the end of summer means cold weather, sometimes extreme cold, is right around the corner. It’s become a part of life for locals. But one local, and his company, thinks that there is a group of residents who might not be able to manage the freezing temperatures, or the price associated with keeping warm.

That group is senior citizens on a fixed budget, and Ely resident John Dishong, along with his company Simplistic Solutions, is looking to fix that this winter.

“The first year we were here, it got to be around 20 degrees below zero, and we could barely afford the wood to stay warm,” Dishong said of the price of firewood. “I can’t imagine being a senior on a fixed budget during 20 below trying to afford it. There is only so much you can bundle up to stay warm.”

Dishong recently got the city council’s approval to store 20 cords of wood (approximately 1,700 cubic feet of firewood) at a county lot for the purposes of giving it all away for free to seniors in need. To make sure that his charitable venture doesn’t cut into any local business owner’s firewood sales, Dishong is teaming up with Bunny Hill at White Pine County’s Social Services office to run qualifications to find those who are truly “in need.”

“We don’t want to hurt any business’s sales, we just really want to try and provide something for those seniors out there who couldn’t afford it otherwise,” he said.

Dishong said that any seniors feeling that they might qualify for some of the wood should speak with Hill at the Social Services office as soon as possible. Once qualified, Dishong and a team of volunteers will deliver the wood right to the house of the seniors. The plan is to start getting wood into senior’s fireplaces before the cold hits, so that they will have it when they need it, which means getting started as soon as this weekend.

“We need volunteers. We’ll take anyone who is willing to help us out,” Dishong said. “It’s not all just for manual labor either, if someone has a bad back, they can drive the truck. The important part is that we get this wood to the people that will need it.

Those interested in getting qualified for the free firewood should call the Social Services office at 775-293-6509. Anyone looking to get involved in the volunteer process should call 775-296-1041.