Ray Duman

Baker City Police Chief Ray Duman helped install an air-conditioner in a local home on July 31, the hottest day so far in 2020 at 105 degrees.

Baker City Police Chief Ray Duman and Amanda Baker, the city’s community service officer, really weren’t looking for activity that would cause them to step out into the record-breaking heat on July 31.

But before their work day had ended, a call came in from Garland, Texas, that required them to do just that.

Robin Medina was worried about how her dad, James Kleinschmit, was surviving the 105-degree heat in his single-wide mobile home in Baker City, Duman said. Not knowing who else to call, Medina started with the Baker City Police Department.

It was a simple matter, Duman said.

“She called the PD and we helped out.”

But Medina said she and other family members were left without words to express their appreciation for the efforts of Duman and Baker.

Phoebe Wachtel, administrative assistant for the police department, took the call at 3:10 p.m. Friday and began racking her brain for a way to help Medina. Wachtel said she was worried that if the need was passed to another agency, it might not have been immediately met near the end of the day on a sweltering Friday afternoon.

So before referring Medina elsewhere, Wachtel said she first briefed Duman on the matter and then forwarded the call to him.

Kleinschmit is in his late 70s, has health problems and uses a wheelchair, Medina explained to Duman. She said she could pay up to $250 for an air conditioner if help could be provided to make the purchase and install it at her father’s home.

Baker was assigned to find the item at the right price, Wachtel said. She tried several Baker City stores before making a purchase at Miller’s Home Center, which helped out by giving her a $50 discount on the deal, Wachtel said.

All that was needed next was for someone to install the appliance at Kleinschmit’s home.

Duman said the job was left up to him and Baker.

“I said ‘either we go do this and be nice human beings or it doesn’t get done,’ ” he said.

They made the choice to help.

The air conditioner was set on a window ledge at Kleinschmit’s home and secured.

“The family was very appreciative and so was he,” Duman said of Kleinschmit.

Wachtel said that everything fell into place to allow the department to follow through on Medina’s “unique” request.

“It was a matter of being in the right place at the right time,” she said.

Medina took to Facebook at 6:56 p.m. Friday to express her appreciation for the police department’s willingness to help her father.

“I am so blessed to have such a wonderful city looking out for my dad,” she wrote. “You have all went above and beyond for a daughter all the way in Garland, Texas, worried about her dad all the way in Oregon. This is why my house will ALWAYS back the blue.”

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