Thursday, March 16, 2006
Tornado dude, day 4
Got this note from a listener:
Just wanted to say how refreshing it is to get the storm news from you and Kellie. Some other local reporters (especially on TV) have a tendency to hype it up and have been insensitive to the personal loss people have been faced with. One reporter/camera man was showing a man's demolished home and stupidly asked, "How's it feel to see everything you've worked for destroyed in an instant and to have your life ruined?" What's he going to say? "Oh no problem! I feel good today, maybe a slight cough coming on, but otherwise, I'm fine". GRRRRRRRR.... You and Kelly really share the news with seriousness and compassion, yet enough light-heartedness to not depress us all beyond coping. I wonder if you 2 know the positive impact you have on the city of Springfield and the surrounding area. Your pride in our city is contagious!!! Thanks! ~ Kim
Thanks Kim. Maybe I've learned something being on the air three decades. In situations like this - shut up & listen. I am not the story - people are. Tell the story. In this town now, there are thousands of stories. Kim, what you're witnessing are green broadcasters caught up in the excitement of probably the biggest story they've ever been associated with. Cut them slack. They know not what they do.
One story I can't get out of my mind is a man named Mike. I met Mike at sunrise the morning after an F2 tornado had taken out his mobile home park. Somehow, Mikes trailer was mostly unscathed - (porch ripped off and a 4 inch tree branch horizontally impaled in the side) - he was peering out the door as I drove by. I said, "There's a man in there"! I pulled over and went to talk to Mike. He was a Vietnam Vet in a wheelchair. His legs had obviously been lost in the war because the blunt trauma was apparent. He's in the dark with coffee, cigarettes and a little dog. He'd ridden the storm out alone. When the shit hit - he couldn't get out - so he hunkered down - and by the grace of God, survived. He was "matter of fact" about the whole thing. He wondered where his giant porch had gone. I looked around and told him it was about 40 feet behind his trailer now. The power is still out in Mikes area. Mike appeared to have a gas stove that still worked. I speculate he's been heating his home with the stove. It's been in the 20's overnight. My curiousity has the better of me. I'm buying groceries for Mike. I'm going to visit him tonight. Insurance? C'mon. All he may have is me.