Monday, November 7, 2016

A tornado that almost was. And Thank God it wasn't.

This story may seem to be out of date because it actually happened a week before Axl's 15th birthday, but I thought you might like to read it and what happened afterward. I have repeated the story below as I wrote it to praise the two county police officers who came to my home to help us. I sent this story via email to WCPO-TV because it was their weatherman, Steve Raleigh, who is pictured below, has the best severe weather graphics of all the local TV stations and the one station I always watch when bad weather is coming.

Text of email sent to WCPO-TV:

Last Wednesday evening (October 19th)  a small but powerful storm only about 3-miles wide tore through my neighborhood on Cadillac Drive in Nicholson which is south of Independence. It was estimated the winds reached 80 mph and caused a power outage over a two square mile area. The streets surrounding us were littered with fallen trees, massive tree limbs and the downed telephone poles knocked out our electricity and telephone service.
I captured a picture off the TV of the WCPO weatherman showing the storm heading straight for us just before it hit. In the photo the storm is the red blob located just above the town of Walton. You can almost see our house by following the red line. We are just about at the point where the red line is closest to the large black area. We get our mail from Independence but actually live in Nicholson. 
My wife and I are both in poor health. Jacqueline, my wife of 56 years, is confined to a hospital bed under the care of Hospice of the Bluegrass with advanced Alzheimer’s. I am her only caregiver at home and coping with Congestive Heart Failure and breathing problems. The power failure Wednesday evening trapped my wife in her hospital bed in the full upright position that I put her in to feed her dinner. She had great difficulty sleeping that way and was forced to sit all night in her soiled bedclothes.
First thing Thursday morning I got to look outside at the damage and my property as well as the street was filled with huge tree limbs and several toppled trees. The local power company, Duke Energy, already had dozens of trucks on my small dead-end street that has only 60 houses. My next door neighbor told me Duke Energy estimated up to 3 days before they could restore power. I’ll tell you one thing, they worked around the clock and in the rain replacing the telephone poles and electrical equipment.
What happened next was truly amazing. About 9 o'clock Thursday morning two uniformed Kenton County Police officers came to my house and asked me if there was anything they could do to help. I told them my wife was stuck in her bed because I couldn't lower it so the first thing they did was call EMS to send an ambulance and then a Fire Dept truck showed up and they ran an extension cord from a generator on the fire truck into the house to power up the bed motor. The EMS people got Jacqueline out of bed and sat her on the bedside commode and I thanked them and told them a hospice nurse’s aid was supposed to show up as soon as she could.
Then these two Police officers came back and told me they were going to go home and change into work clothes and come back to clean up the broken branches on my property. And when they arrived they brought their own chain saws. And it rained most of the day while these two guys hauled the tons of branches from my front and back yard and piled them up at the curb. I kept thanking these two gentlemen every time I saw them but I think they deserve more recognition for what they did. When I saw them dragging the branches hundreds of feet behind my house up my driveway from my backyard, I told them to please use my lawn tractor and my cart and they actually thanked me for offering it. 
To cap it off, Colonel Michael “Spike” Jones, the Chief of the Kenton County Police stopped by later and asked me if everything was going OK. I asked him how come I was getting so much help and he said the first thing his officers did was to go up and down the street, house to house, and ask everyone who needed help the most and he said everyone pointed to my house. I almost cried realizing that most of these neighbors who I don’t even know, were aware of how much we needed help. The Chief also advised me that his officers did not want their names mentioned or to be singled out. What they did was community service even if it was above and beyond the call of duty.
This is the kind of story about our local police that needs to be shared with the public. 
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Soon after sending this email I got a phone call from the news desk at WCPO and they asked me if I would give them a videotaped interview telling this story. They sent out the cameraman who taped me and followed that with a live feed truck with a reporter who added commentary and it became the lead story on the 6 o'clock news that Sunday. If you care to watch it you can read the story on the WCPO web site here:  
The ABC affiliate WCPO-TV in Cincinnati also has a YouTube page with a permanent link to the video story about the storm damage on my street and my interview in my home.
The damage from this storm was almost as bad as if it was a tornado. 80mph straight line winds did a great deal of damage not only to the trees but to many of the roofs of the houses on our street. Dozens of mature trees were toppled along with many telephone pole and huge tree limbs being sheared off. It took the county Public Works people almost two weeks to clean up the debris. While our electricity was out for only 24 hours some people were in worse shape than we were. When I finally got to inspect the damage on my own property I was amazed at the size of the tree limbs ripped apart.

When things began to quiet down I went ahead and prepared for Axl's birthday.



  1. What an amazing story. I'm so glad that your neighbors pointed the officers in your direction and that they were able to assist you and your wife. God bless them and God bless you.