In the 53 years Willie Mae Hardy had been living in her Kirkwood home, she never had any air conditioning. The 111-year-old woman sat in Atlanta’s sweltering heat as her granddaughter used fans and gave her water to keep her cool.

That changed after a Channel 2 Action News viewer and Hardy’s church members saw a news story about her life and decided to help. Now, Hardy will have her entire home remodeled by Lowe’s Home Improvement and air conditioning installed for free.

“She’s just happy and overwhelmed that the Lord sent someone by here to help out,” granddaughter Veronica Edwards told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Hardy was previously profiled by the AJC in July. Born March 11, 1908, Hardy has lived through 20 presidents, the Jim Crow South and recently met former First Lady Michelle Obama.

READ HER STORY HERE: Atlanta woman, 111, lives through Jim Crow South, meets Michelle Obama

Channel 2 featured Hardy in an Aug. 19 story and mentioned her home didn’t have an air conditioner. That day, the temperature was 93 degrees. After the segment aired, Sandy Springs resident Eric Tillman went to his local Lowe’s to buy an air conditioning unit for Hardy’s home.

“As I watched the story and saw your interview of (Mrs.) Hardy, I was just moved,” Tillman told Channel 2 reporter Berndt Petersen. Tillman showed the news clip to the Sandy Springs store manager Andre Johnkins, who told Tillman the store would give Hardy an air conditioner.

After Lowe’s district manager Don Jones heard about Hardy’s needs, he decided the company would renovate Hardy’s home for free, Edwards said. Lowe’s will install a central heating and air conditioning unit; Hardy’s heating unit failed five months ago, Edwards said. Hardy’s church has also donated a portable air conditioner.

Edwards said she’d tried several times to work with local organizations to get air conditioning units installed in her grandmother’s home, but had been unsuccessful.

“I tried numerous times with different organizations, but they always told me there was a waiting list or the funds were scarce,” she said.

Credit: Christina R. Matacotta

Credit: Christina R. Matacotta

Edwards said Lowe’s contractors came by to survey the home Tuesday and will be back next week, but a definitive timeline for remodeling has not been set.

Since the air conditioners were installed, Edwards said she’s noticed a change in Hardy’s demeanor: “Before, she was tired, drained, and weak. She wasn’t as vibrant as she is now… She’s more talkative and cohesive.”

Edwards also thanked those who have helped her grandmother in recent weeks.

“I’ve tried everything to keep her comfortable,” Edwards said. “In the end, God heard my prayer.”

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