Well, it's Sunday night, and I just tried to send the kids to bed. They "reminded" me that tomorrow is a holiday and that they're home from school. Oh really? Columbus Day. Dammit. I don't have the day off from work, and I'm not sure what I'll do. I hate trying to work from home, but I don't know if I can trust them not to destroy everything if I go into the office.
Saturday Morning at the Fire Department
Saturday morning, I took my younger son out to Mama's Daughters Diner for breakfast. My older son used to love going there and stuffing himself, but for some reason, he didn't want to go. Ike and I stopped at a couple of garage sales while we were out, but they mostly sucked. It's amazing the crap that some people will try to sell. At some point when all you've got left is crap, you should just shut it down.
So, as we were driving around, we saw the Careflite helicopter zoom past, in the direction of the fire department, and Ike wanted to go see it. I hadn't planned on going to the open house at the fire station, but since he was interested, we went on over there. As it turns out, I'm glad I did. I'd seen all the stuff before, but Ike enjoyed seeing it. One of his favorite things was going up in the ladder on Truck 167. There was a lot of free food, but we were stuffed. Other highlights: seeing (and feeling) the Careflite helicopter take off (which was something like I imagine a hurricane would feel like), and the demonstration of extracting an injured passenger from a car. I think Ike was impressed.
Donate Life. Do this now: Sign up for organ donation
There were a couple of things that were educational for me though. I ran into Chief Lasky, who asked me to go over and talk to the folks from "Taylor's Gift", who were there doing organ donor registrations. I know, it's a bit of a morbid topic, but Lasky explained that he had thought he was registered as an organ donor, but that upon doing a search with the computer that the organization brought with them, he discovered he wasn't in the state registry. I told him about how I had been frustrated about signing up as a donor when renewing my drivers license, and yet still not having that designated on my license. My wife and I had put our own hand-made stickers on our DLs and made it clear to each other that our intent was that we would donate everything.
Anyhow, like I said, these folks from the Taylor's Gift organization were there with a laptop and internet connection, and they invited me to enter my basic information to search the state donor registry to see if I was listed. Apparently I wasn't listed, so the system let me set up a login and specify my preference to donate all of my organs and tissues when I die.
I can't say enough how important I think it is that people choose to give life by donating your organs when you die. In my opinion, there's just no excuse to compound a tragedy by letting your organs and tissues go to waste if you should lose your life. There are many, many people waiting on life-saving organ donations. Your heart, kidneys, liver, pancreas, corneas, bones, skin, intestines and other tissues do you no good when you're dead.
The organ donor registry in Texas is run by the Texas Department of State Health Services, and is found at https://www.donatelifetexas.org .
When 13 year-old Coppell resident Taylor Storch was declared brain-dead after a ski accident this past March, her parents donated her organs, which were used to save five lives:
"She was wearing her helmet — never took that helmet off — and was following her brother and just lost control," Taylor's mom said. "From what we understand, she hit the tree and then she spun, and I think when she spun is when she hit another tree."
Taylor was rushed to a Vail hospital with a severe head injury. She was then airlifted to Grand Junction, where doctors pronounced her brain dead on Monday.
Immediately, the Storches did what Taylor would have wanted.
"We just found out yesterday that a one-year-old baby has her heart, and another person has a kidney and a pancreas, and another person has her other kidney," said Todd Storch, Taylor's dad.
Here's a story about Julie De Rossi, killed on March 18th, 2004 by a drunk driver, but her kidneys, liver, pancreas, bone, skin, tendons and heart valves all were used to help 35 people.
THIRTY-FIVE PEOPLE, FOLKS! That puts a serious silver lining on an otherwise very tragic situation. Please do this now: go to www.donatelifetexas.org and sign up to be a donor. Nobody ever plans to go out one day and get themselves killed by a drunk driver or have a fatal accident. This is something you need to do ahead of time. Sign up, and make sure your family members know.
The other thing I took away from the fire department open house was that I needed to make an emergency preparedness kit for my family. This is something I've heard before from Summer Wilhelm, our fair city's Emergency Management Coordinator. This Saturday, I heard it again from the Red Cross, and again from Kelly Roark, who was there with Wilhelm pushing the "Know What 2 Do" program that helps citizens to be more prepared in the event of a disaster, since it sometimes can take days before government help can arrive.
Anyhow, armed with a free booklet from Know What 2 Do, and a list from the American Red Cross, I thought it would be a good thing to go ahead and try to reconstitute our family's kit. We've tried to build a kit before, but sort of ended up with it being cannibalized for things like camping trips, or just needing something and realizing we had it in the garage.
So the boys and I made a few stops last night at stores around town, and I'd say we're about 50% done with building our kit. We bought a couple of large plastic bins and lids, and we've picked up a lot of first aid items, a dynamo-powered AM/FM/Weather radio, and various tools and toiletries.
I'm still working on it, but I thought I'd share this link to the American Red Cross' disaster preparedness kit list, just in case you're interested.