D. Gary Davis
This past week, Punxsutawney Phil, predicted that we are still in for six more weeks of winter after he was able to see his own shadow. This has been both verified, and also contradicted, by multiple professional weather personalities, and other Groundhogs, across the nation.
To help prepare for the possibility of a prolonged winter weather mix, I wanted to pass along some facts from the Local Government Insurance Pool’s Safety newsletter that may help in preventing a cold temperature related illness or injury. Either inadequate or even damp clothing can increase the risk to becoming injured in colder weather. It is best to avoid drugs, alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes when working outside in colder conditions. Medical conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, diabetes, atherosclerosis and other health compromises may have a detrimental effect with the combination of colder weather. Males have a statistical higher death rate in cold conditions than females, as well as older, overweight persons who could find that activities that require exertion in the cold, may constrict the blood vessels of the heart to such a degree as to increase the chance of injury or even death that would not be as prevalent in warmer weather. If one must be outside and you find the temperature colder than usual please proceed with caution and ask for help or assistance before reaching a disastrous outcome.
With colder weather over a period of time, many people will use differing types of heating systems to help remain both comfortable and warm. If any of these require electricity please check plugs and cords for any signs of frayed wiring or worn insulation. Do not overload circuits, fuses, motors or even the outlets. Make sure that there is at least 2 feet of space IN ALL DIRECTIONS from a heat source away from any combustible materials and do not use extension cords to provide electricity for heating units.
Groundhog Day also helped me remember that classic movie that many may remember, in which the same 24 hour period was repeated and this allowed for many different outcomes each day due to the ability of using each day’s allotted time differently. In this movie, it became evident that with perseverance and dedication new skills could be learned and used to benefit not only the lead character, but also those who were around him each and every day. This could also very easily be used to either help or hurt the same people. My Assistant’s wife, Peggy, recently taught a class describing the difference between a "Hero” versus a "Celebrity”. A Hero is one that seeks to serve others in their time of need and never seeks credit or approval from others for their actions. They usually do this by choosing the "path less traveled” and sometimes even make their own path. A Celebrity is one that usually has achieved fame by portraying another person, or event, in life with the ability to replicate what has made someone else independently memorable. They usually do this by "losing themselves” in the character that they are trying to portray and gain a semblance of fame by "being someone else”. Some then use this notoriety to try and influence others opinions, actions and beliefs, as we have seen in recent weeks.
I am proud that the majority of Bradley County’s past, current and hopefully future, resides more with the definition of a hero. Those who bravely worked to give us the opportunity to live, work and continue their efforts and enjoy the freedoms that have been freely given to us, but were not purchased without a cost. May we all seek to be safe. Thank you to those who continually seek to help, serve, protect and provide whether the weather is colder or not. This helping attitude and continuing to look out for others without seeking any recognition of self, for the next 6 weeks and beyond, describes the real heroes that are daily at work to keep Bradley County, Tennessee at its best!