Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer

In the eight years that Patrick Jenkins has hosted the “Cold for a Cause” event to raise awareness and collect donations for Macon County Care Network, Jenkins has always been adamant that the colder the weather, the better he likes it. The lows in Franklin all week have been in the single digits, with the highs rarely reaching above freezing and when Jenkins plans to climb into the crane on Friday for the 9th annual Cold for a Cause, that weather trend is forecasted to continue.

“Looks like the low Friday night will be 5 degrees with windchill in the negative degrees and Saturday night will be 11 degrees with windchill probably around 2 degrees,” said Jenkins, who monitories the weather leading up to the event to help him best prepare for his venture. “As long as the weather just shows extreme temps and no rain/sleet/snow, I do not have to worry about having a tarp or rain gear. I want the temps to be as low as possible, so everyone will talk about that crazy guy up in the crane. I do not want the roads to be bad, because people can’t get to the event if they are.”

Beginning Friday at noon, Jenkins will get into a box that he built to be fitted to a crane, provided by Sanders Crane, and will brave the elements for 48 hours while members of the community donate needed items.

Items needed this year include canned goods, non-perishable food items, personal hygiene products, paper goods (paper towels, hand wipes, diapers) tooth paste, toothbrushes, coats and blankets and warm weather clothing.

Jenkins begins preparing for the annual charity event weeks before he actually climbs into the crane. In addition to acclimating his body to colder weather and increasing his vitamin intake, Jenkins begins advertising the event to boost donations.

“I contact all the media sources, record radio ads, and have flyers printed and laminated to hand out,” said Jenkins. “I also contact the churches to announce the event and ask for their support. I also have signs made, which were donated by Leland at Signs Express, to put up around town.”

Jenkins coordinates the crane services with Joe Sanders at Sanders Crane, who has provided a crane to hold Jenkins’ home-away-from-home for the weekend since the program’s inception.

“I have lived in Macon County almost my whole life,” said Jenkins. “I have been blessed over the years. This is my way of coming up with an event that I can hopefully give back to the county. This will be the 9th year for this event and it has turned into an avenue that provides the opportunity for everyone to jump onboard to help the neighbors right here in our county. The people of Macon County are the ones to be praised for their very generous outpouring of items over the years. The people are the reason the event has been so successful… I am just the ‘Man in the Crane.’”

The crane will be lifted into the air and donations can be made at the Farm Bureau office on the Highlands Road from Friday, Jan. 5. at noon to Sunday, Jan. 7, at noon.