Man uses self-built generator powered with a lawnmower to help keep neighbor’s oxygen machine going

A storm knocked out the electricity to his elderly neighbor's house, leaving him with only a few hours of oxygen to survive on.
July 5, 2018 10:51 am Last Updated: July 5, 2018 10:51 am

Storms have been hitting Iowa recently, leaving a trail of debris and power outages in their wake. For most, going without electricity for any length of time is an inconvenience.

But for Harold McClure, an elderly Indianola, Iowa, resident who depends on oxygen 24 hours a day, loss of electricity is an emergency. McClure would be unable to survive an extended period of time without power to his oxygen machine.

A storm knocked out the power to McClure’s home, leaving him with only a few hours of oxygen.

(WHOTV/ Screenshot)

McClure’s oxygen machine can run on a battery pack for a short period of time, but without finding a constant source of power, he’d likely need to be hospitalized.

“These things can only run for a few hours, then you’re out again,” McClure told WHOTV.

McClure’s tanks were quickly beginning to empty and the family wasn’t sure of what to do next. Unsure of how long the power would be out, they were scrambling for a solution.

Fortunately, their neighbor Joe Gazelle is an inventor, and had built a device that could help McClure out of the pinch.

Gazelle had built a generator several years ago that fed off power from a riding lawnmower.

(WHOTV/ Screenshot)

Several years prior to the outage, Gazelle had built a generator that would run off of the power from his riding lawnmower. The only problem was it had been a few years since he’d run the machine, and he wasn’t sure if it would still work.

“It sat for the last four and a half, five years and hadn’t been ran,” Gazelle told WHOTV. “And to my surprise, I was hoping it would, it performed just like it did when we developed our prototypes years ago.”

Gazelle was pleased to see his invention be put to work in a way that helped his neighbor. McClure was truly grateful, as the machine worked perfectly and quickly refilled his oxygen tanks.

“It’s sitting there running right now, and getting the oxygen bottles filled back up for him,” Gazelle said.

Gazelle told McClure he can use the invention for as long as he needs.

(WHOTV/ Screenshot)

With McClure desperately needing access to electricity to refill his oxygen tanks, Gazelle told him to keep the machine as long as necessary. That was good news for McClure, as power wasn’t completely restored to some properties until over two days later, according to Indianola Municipal Utilities.

Fortunately, neighborly love was there to provide McClure with the help he needed, and hopefully he’s now back with full power again.