Did you get some snow at your house this week? We got just a little at my house (I guess it would be a little if you lived at the North Pole). Hope that you and your family made it through safe and sound. I know that a lot of people were inconvenienced and a lot of folks (me included) had to get pulled out of a ditch, but I hope that no one suffered any major accidents or incidents. 


Did you get some snow at your house this week? We got just a little at my house (I guess it would be a little if you lived at the North Pole). Hope that you and your family made it through safe and sound. I know that a lot of people were inconvenienced and a lot of folks (me included) had to get pulled out of a ditch, but I hope that no one suffered any major accidents or incidents.  

Tuesday morning I decided to call Gary Roark, Newton County emergency management director, to see if he could use some help. He said that he could so I guess I have him to blame for putting my car in the ditch. Then again, maybe it was my fault for not paying better attention. But, to my defense, it is a little hard to tell where the road is when you can only see 10 feet in front of the car. Before I go further I do want to publicly say thank you to the nice couple in the red Jeep that picked me up and took me to the EOC (Emergency Operations Center). I’m sorry that I didn’t get your name but I do appreciate your willingness to help.

And I guess that is the main lesson we need to take from the blizzard. Regardless of the situation, when disasters happen in Southwest Missouri, people help each other. Whether it is a tornado or a blizzard our folks take care of each other and that’s what makes this part of the country so special. I know that goodwill exists everywhere but it seems to live here in abundance.

If you have read my columns over the years you know that I have written extensively about the government doing things that it shouldn’t. But, in this column I want to give you an example of something that the government should be doing as evidenced by this natural disaster. By the time I finally got to the EOC, Gary already had the cavalry on the way in the form of the Missouri National Guard. Sergeant First Class Robert Howard arrived shortly after I did and in the next few hours he was joined by eight more of Missouri’s finest.  

My job was to basically answer phones, make coffee and do anything else Gary needed done and didn’t want to do or have time to do. But, in between I did get to listen in on his strategy sessions. By the time the guardsmen had arrived Rusty Tinney, Newton County Ambulance District manager, and Jeff Prosser (his operations manager) were there with some of their folks and everyone huddled together to figure out the best way to utilize the Guard resources.  

After some discussion it was decided that it would be best to deploy one Humvee with two guardsmen to each of the four ambulance sites around the county. The ambulances couldn’t get through the deep snow so, in case of an emergency, the Guard could either plow a trail with their Hummer or if necessary even transport the emergency personnel to the site. By decentralizing the troops and assigning them to the ambulance locations, response time was faster and our citizens were much better served.

Now folks this is a prime example of the proper role of government. This makes sense and is a good use of our tax dollars. This is what our government should be doing — helping citizens with services that they can’t do for themselves. To say that I was proud of our guardsmen, the ambulance personnel and Gary Roark is an understatement. They conducted themselves just like the professionals that they are — working through a tough situation and utilizing their resources to the maximum extent. Well, done and thank you.

And, while I’m at it I need to say the same about all the other folks who helped out at the EOC — Larry Coiner and Laverne Wilson who manned the ham radios and stayed all night the first night of the blizzard, Carolyn Jackson (the emergency management administrative assistant) and, of course, Sergeant First Class Howard who was there non-stop from Tuesday morning until Saturday morning. I think that they all qualify for my Standing in the Gap award.

Quote of the week comes from U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) who said and I quote “We have three branches of government. We have a House, we have a Senate, we have a president and all three of us are to going to have to come together and give some.” Now this was taken from a longer comment regarding the federal budget but is not quoted out of context and I watched the clip myself. Note: I spoke to a lot of fourth grade classes during my years in the Missouri House and most of those classes could tell me that the three branches of government are the legislative, the judicial and the executive — not the House, the Senate and the president. Just remember, the citizens of New York have elected him three times to the U.S. Senate.

Kevin Wilson writes a weekly column for the Daily News.