Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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January 8, 2014

Storm stories have heroes

Sunday’s snowstorm dropped about 15 inches in the Tipton County communities of Sharpsville, Windfall and Hobbs, bringing down power lines.

Then the winds came. Temperatures plummeted. Wind chills of 40-below zero weren’t uncommon.

Residents trapped in as many as 4,000 unheated homes and travelers stranded on the county’s roads and highways were of paramount concern to the Emergency Management Agency and sheriff’s department.

Wagging war on county roads drifted shut by steady winds and heavy snow was a distant second.

“We’re spending so much time helping people right now, which is obviously our top priority,” EMA Director Chuck Bell told us Monday. “Half of the county highway crew has been out all night and [Monday], so hopefully we can get them some rest and get right back to clearing the roads.”

Tipton’s Trinity Wesleyan Church began receiving displaced residents and travelers about 5 p.m. Sunday. Forty-eight people stayed overnight.

“I think it’s more motorists than locals that have been utilizing the shelter,” Pastor of Outreach Joe Deckard said.

The word “hero” is one that seems overused in today’s lexicon, particularly in a political context. But in the coming days, as people recount their storm stories to friends and family, we’re certain the term will be used to describe those who offered assistance — the plow operators, law enforcement officers and passers-by who picked up others and drove them to safety.

“Hero” will be used to describe the many shelter volunteers in the Kokomo area who offered a mug of coffee, plate of food and their undivided attention.

It will be used to describe the Kokomo firefighters who were called to a house fire near the intersection of Vaile Avenue and Union Street early Tuesday morning, when wind chills were likely near 30-below zero.

It even will be used to describe the neighbor boy who shoveled the walk and driveway of the lady who lives alone.

Its usage will be warranted.

On behalf of ourselves and our readers, we thank the many utility linemen, police officers, emergency medical personnel, plow operators and Good Samaritans who risked the dangerous cold to help another.

There have been countless heroes in the Kokomo area these past few days.

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