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Emergency officials saved 75th birthday

Milltown, Ind.

I have been a resident of Milltown for over 20 years and a resident of the United States for many more, so I have seen many storms, but this ice and snowstorm, which greeted me for my 75th birthday, was unusual.

For the first time in my life, I needed emergency shelter. My car was covered with ice and blocked by mounds of ice and snow from the snow plows. The electricity and heat were off, and I have been sick for over two years and tend to get bronchitis from exposure to cold. So, when I awoke Wednesday morning to find the town in total darkness and my house uncomfortably cold, I called for help and talked to the Crawford County dispatcher. Before I could finish calling Duke Energy to ascertain the estimated time of power restoration, there was a knock at my door.

Milltown's chief marshal, Ray Saylor, was there with his deputy, a big smile and a helping hand. They treated me with respect and courtesy and calmed my fears. Although the roads were hazardous, they saw that I was delivered safely to the emergency shelter. At Hillview Christian Church, we were greeted by Sam Bowles, associate pastor, and several members, who gave us coffee and soon served a delicious breakfast.

During my stay at the shelter, Chief Saylor went back to my house for the prescription meds I had forgotten in my haste. He tried to make a bad situation better for everyone — to the best of his ability. Milltown should be proud of the way Chief Saylor performed his duties and even went above and beyond the call of duty to help Crawford Countians in need.

The Emergency Manage-ment Agency director, Kent Barrow, was often at the shelter, keeping us informed, helping both those who were at the shelter and those who needed to come, coordinating the drivers and other members of the emergency team, keeping in touch with the situations in Marengo, Milltown, English, Leavenworth and rural areas, to keep abreast of where the power was off, which residents of the county were in need of medical help or transportation to hospitals or emergency shelter, and coordinating with the church people to make arrangements for children and people with special needs.

Associate Pastor Bowles seemed to be everywhere, trying to meet the needs of all the "refugees." His attitude was consistently respectful, caring and helpful. With great efficiency, he supervised the kitchen, the entire facility and even worked outside to keep the road clear for the emergency vehicles.

I am proud of Crawford County for the beautiful attitude of all the emergency management team with whom I came in contact. They went without sleep and risked their lives to keep us safe.

The only problem I had was the lack of county instructions as to what we are to do in emergency situations such as this. Perhaps the Clarion has published such instructions for us, but, if so, I did not keep them, so I called Milltown's town manager, then the county courthouse at 1-800-548-5375, told my situation and was connected to the dispatcher. From my point of view, the Crawford County Emergency Management Agency team did an exemplary job! Crawford Countians can be proud of our team.

I wish to thank all the gracious people who helped me survive my birthday in spite of the dangerous weather and power outages. There are many members of the emergency management team whom I never met, but I want to say "THANK YOU" to everyone!

Ruth Duncan-Thunderhorse
February 11, 2009

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