A group of volunteers stand in front of the 20 chords of wood that was split into firewood for seniors in need on Oct. 23. (Garret Estrada photo)

A group of volunteers stand in front of the 20 chords of wood that was split into firewood for seniors in need on Oct. 23. (Garret Estrada photo)

White Pine senior citizens who struggle to afford firewood to stay warm in Ely’s harsh winters have an early Christmas present coming thanks to the efforts of a group of volunteers. After several months of organizing, 20 cords of wood were split by local Boy Scout troop 71. The wood will begin being delivered to seniors who qualified through the county’s Social Services department.

John Dishong originally came up with the idea as a way to help those in the community that might not be able to afford firewood on a fixed budget, such as retired seniors. After putting the word out that he was looking for volunteers, he was surprised by the amount of people that asked if they could help.

“We had federal help through BLM, then we had the county helping us decide who is in greatest need through social services. We had help from the city; they came and cleaned up the area for us. So everyone pitched in,” Dishong said. “And that is what Ely is. It is volunteers.”

After gathering 20 cords of wood, which roughly translates to over 2,500 cubic feet of firewood, Dishong teamed up with local scout leader Mike Wheable to get the scouts involved in splitting it all. Wheable, who is also the county’s Deputy District Attorney, said that the project was a good way to give back to those in need.

“We are fortunate to live in a community of this size where we can serve each other and actually make a difference to make individual lives better,” Wheable said. “This is an easy project where you can have the most impact in our community. There are plenty of people that can’t afford firewood and would just shiver under a blanket so this is a good way to help them.”

Dishong is still working with Bunny Hill at the county’s Social Services office to help find seniors who qualify for the free firewood. He expects deliveries to begin in a month.

For more information on how to qualify for the free firewood, contact White Pine County Social Services at 775-293-6528.

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