Butler County Times Gazette
  • Belinda Larsen: Storm brings out Augusta kindness

  • Tough days bring out the best and the worst
    • email print
  • Tough days can bring out the best and the worst in all of us. The winter storm that we just endured is proof.
    I don't wish to give any energy to negativity, but I want to mention that the city received several calls from irate citizens concerning the city's method of plowing snow from streets. Unfortunately, the snow plow drivers aren't able to take the time to clean out each driveway entrance. Crews worked around the clock beginning Wednesday night and were still working on Friday. City sanitation workers didn't take the day off because they were unable to pick up trash, but were put to work clearing our city streets.
    Any resident who had an emergency could have called the Public Safety Department and help would have been sent immediately.
    I lived in the large city to the west of us for a number of years and their policy is not to clear any residential streets. It makes getting around neighborhoods extremely difficult - not for hours, but days sometimes.
    Eventually snow melts.
    I'm an early riser, getting to work each day around 5:30 or 6 a.m. On Thursday morning after digging my truck out and getting out into the street, I got stuck. I tried earnestly to get traction and move, but I was stranded cross-wise in the middle of the street. At that time of the morning the only person I would call would be my boss, but this week he was stuck in Kansas City. Because I was blocking traffic I decided to call the Department of Safety. The dispatcher was so nice and helpful and assured me that someone would be out soon. In less than 10 minutes, Sgt. Chad McCluskey and another officer arrived and helped me out of center of the road and got me on my way.
    After arriving I was surprised to take a call from the police dispatcher asking if I had made it okay. A simple act of kindness.
    I spent the day alone in the office and made sure weather bulletins and closings were posted to our webpage. I was visited briefly in the morning by Roger and Sandi Megli, our friends at Dunsford's, sharing Sandi's birthday breakfast with me. It was so thoughtful and appreciated.
    Throughout the day city trucks and plows were passing our office on their way to clean more roadways.
    I received several offers to help dig my truck out of our parking lot, but I did manage to get out and made my way home, where I made certain to back into the driveway ensuring an easier exit on Friday morning.
    Best laid plans
    I decided to grab an extra hour of sleep Friday morning and try to get to the office before 7 a.m. I bundled up, trudged through the snow to my truck. The doors were frozen shut. It wasn't going anywhere.
    Page 2 of 2 - I decided not to call anyone for a ride who I thought would still be asleep.
    What to do? I didn't want to sit around for hours when I knew I had lots of work waiting for me at the office. It was too slick on the streets to attempt walking all the way to work, but walking a block to Casey's was feasible. I bet someone shopping at Casey's would give me a ride to the office.
    Connie, the assistant manager at Casey's said she'd love to take me to work, but her husband had dropped her off. She assured me one of their nice customers would no doubt help me. While we waited she shared snow stories from the day before. She spoke of a Good Samaritan, Kirk Gillis who had been told to stay home from work by his employer, but instead picked up Casey's employees who were unable to get to work, drove a child to daycare and pulled four cars out of driveways and ditches on Santa Fe Lake Rd.
    He ended up working hard at giving back to others.
    No more than 10 minutes passed until city employee RB Wilkinson stopped by and Connie immediately asked him if he'd give me a ride to the Gazette office. He agreed without hesitation. Wow. It was actually out of his way and he had no idea who I was. He was simply doing something nice.
    I was feeling great. I had been reminded that most people are kind and really do care what happens to others. Life was good. It was going to be a better day and my co-workers would be back to help get another paper to press.
    Then the phone rang. A few of our readers were very upset that their papers had not been delivered on Thursday. (I do love it that people want their Gazettes!) I apologized and explained that we could not force any of the carriers to deliver in severe weather conditions. I wondered to myself if they had also called the post office complaining of no mail service on Thursday.
    The next phone call lifted my spirits. Dear, sweet Nina Geist called to thank her carrier for getting the paper to her on Thursday. She said that she hadn't expected it because of the weather and was grateful. Thank you, Nina.
    And thanks to everyone who went out of their way to help another. I've always been proud to live in a community that shows its best side in the worst of times.
    Belinda Larsen is the Gazette Editor and can be reached at: lifestyles@augustagazette.com
      • calendar