Do we need stickers, always?

I don’t want to sound bombastic. However, when it comes to driving and being on the road, I am generally a whole lot patient simply because I don’t carry the responsibility of their risks on my shoulder. Who knows there is a baby on board, an elderly (with generally impaired reflexes) driving the car, a lady not as adroit and smart as a general driver or just the clumsiness of technology that you cannot brake adequately in time?

I have also noted that, zooming on road helps you save only 2-4 minutes of your time. If you plan and start early, you never have to vroom on the road and increase the risk (for yourself and others). Another titbit I share with my son, that if you are driving by the rule, you reduce the incidence of accident by half. The other half are still caused by others. That is the reason we should all be driving safe and not one person alone.

However, let us own up our part of responsible driving – 

  1. Driving fast only saves 2-3 minutes on a 30-40 minutes commute
  2. Starting 4 minutes ahead is truly not difficult
  3. Despite, if you are late, you won’t miss much
  4. Don’t install (police) detecting radars, getting a ticket (citation) changes our behavior. It is not a criminal offense
  5. Of course, no drinking and driving
  6. No texting while driving

We all need to practice ‘No Texting While Driving’. That isn’t’ a tall order? Sometimes, it feels as though we are asking youngsters to follow abstinence or a businessmen (and few doctors), to be puerile in their ethical practices.

Not sure if my behavior has changed anything but I have noted one thing, it made a difference to me. Being late just matters as much as being on time. I haven’t seen missing much other than being anal to be on time. It does provide me a sense of satisfaction that I am living in a macrocosm where others deserve equal respect.

I received an interesting note on What’s Up. Below is the verbatim.

A car ahead was moving like a turtle and not giving me way in spite of my continuous honking! I was on brink of losing my cool when I noticed the small sticker on the car’s rear!

“Physically challenged; please be patient.”

And that changed everything!! I immediately went calm & slowed down!! In fact I got a little protective of the car & the driver!!! I reached work a few minutes late, but it was ok! And then it struck me. Would I have been patient if there was no sticker? Why do we need stickers to be patient with people!? Will we be more patient & kind with others if people had labels pasted on their foreheads?

Labels like —

“Lost my job”
“Fighting cancer”
“Going through a bad divorce”
“Suffering Emotional abuse”
“Lost a loved one”
“Feeling worthless”
“Financially broken”….. And more like these…

Do we need sticker for the invisible ones?

Everyone is fighting a battle we know nothing about. The least we can do is be patient & kind! Let us respect the invisible labels!

Please share, it’s a matter of awareness. Somewhere, someone may find this game changer and it may change his/her driving and impact an unknown precious life, may be prevent a family from losing their beloved one.

Also visit, Speed – Bumps, Humps and Cushions on https://wp.me/p7XEWW-13T

Speed – Bumps, Humps and Cushions

For long time now, we have been witnessing speeding vehicles within our community. As we all know, this may one day have a calamitous outcome. We had a very healthy discussion on why speed needs to be regulated as well as the pros and cons for different options. Obviously, the city does an initial study on the speeding on these streets but we should all be prepared to exercise our options.

I have discussed the compeling reason behind why speed needs to be reduced, how we are closer to having an accident than before, what are the options and also cited a statistically significant study that shows that installing speed bumps does not affect property prices. It is not a matter of personal choice. It is owning community responsibility preemptively, and not waiting for an incidence to happen.

In conclusion, Radar and Speed Bumps are the best options for controling speed. However, given the non invasive nature of Radar, they seems to be the best way to proceed, however, I would like to hear from you all. Please vote for the different speed calming options after reading this blog.

https://wp.me/p7XEWW-13T

 

Getting it right –

Speed – Bumps, Humps and Cushion –

Speed Bumps: are narrow 6-8” wide long made either of durable plastic or concrete.

Speed Humps: Are wider than speed humps, you can imagine two bumps placed at 1’ – 2’ apart to make a hump. Speed humps are parabolic vertical traffic calming devices intended to slow traffic speeds on low volume, low speed roads. Speed humps are 3–4 inches high and 12–14 feet wide, with a ramp length of 3–6 feet.

Speed Cushions: A flat table that rises few inches and runs across for few feet, more than a hump.

Compelling reason:

 

EV Incidence

In the United States, 32,719 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2013 (U.S. DOT, 2013). Young people have a higher risk for pedestrian fatalities (Committee on Injury, Violence, and Poison Prevention; American Academy of Pediatrics, 2009), but older adults are at most risk of dying if they are hit (U.S. DOT, 2012). This is mainly because older adults are more susceptibility to injury and medical complications and not an increased tendency to get into roadway crashes (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2013). (US Department of Transportation –https://www.transportation.gov/mission/health/road-traffic-fatalities-mode)

Statistics speaks a lot, hit and run are directly related to three factors – the longer you stay on the road, the volume of vehicular traffic and the threshold the vehicles cross beyond stipulated speed limit. All these factors will affect incidence of traffic.

Pedestrian and cyclist fatalities are increasing nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and Los Angeles and New York City have the highest rates of those deaths.

Hit-and-run crashes are increasing in many major cities, and hit-and-run fatalities are rising nationally as legislators in several states look to toughen laws to address this troubling “plague.” (Fatal Hit and Run crashes rise in US USA Today)

In a study conducted to understand the epidemic of Hit and Run, three factors were mainly identified. Number of pedestrians on the road, The amount of unauthorized speed above stipulated speed limit and the frequency of both these factors confluencing together. (Los Angeles faces Hit and Run Epidemic).

However, Life is more important than property prices, anytime. No one will disagree on this. If someone differ, they should voice it.

Psychology behind reduced speed

Typically, we are supposed to drive at 20 miles per hour in school zones, and there are many other locations—residential areas, for example—where kids are also vulnerable. Evidence suggests that kids are three times as likely to get hit by a car when traffic speed exceeds 25 miles an hour, since speedy drivers need more reaction time. (https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/full-frontal-psychology/why-kids-get-hit-by-cars.html); Hit-And-Run Deaths Increase (NPR)

No, Property value does not go down with Speed Humps:

Statistical research conducted by City of Pleasanton reveals exactly that. This study is especially relevant as it removes all inherent and implicit biases that confound our thinking that ‘speed bumps decrease property value’, (see attached link). This City of Pleasanton study revealed below observations –

1) When selecting speed humps, it cannot be demonstrated that installing speed humps will affect property values in any predictable way.

2) No trends are apparent. It is not evident that installing speed humps in a neighborhood will affect property values in any predictable way.

What should we believe?

Unbiased research are always insightful as they remove our preponderance to trust our personal preferences. City of Pleasanton provides that objective study removing that bias and establishes the fact that speed bumps don’t decrease property prices.

Google search will reveal data for and against speed bumps (and its association with property prices). It is normal for us to choose data that supports our observation. This is called inherent bias or selection bias. Let us not fall pray to our own biases.

While news links were shared on the Whatsup group showing an association between property prices and speed humps, veteran realtors strongly advocate that installing speed bumps increase the value of neighborhood as it decreases the chance of speeding and any eventual accident. Well, it is common sense to know these are selection biases. Either side uses data that supports their argument. The only way to resolve this is rely on a study that is based on statistical procedures that rule out any inherent bias. City of Pleasanton has that reliable data.

What are the different options for traffic calming?

Various speed calming methods are in use. Vertical deflections (speed humps, speed tables, and raised intersections), horizontal shifts, and roadway narrowing

  1. Stop Signs (not effectiveness)
  2. Radar Monitored (effective)
  3. Speed Bumps/Humps/Cushions (most effective)
  4. Road Diets (very effective)

Effectiveness of options –

Posting Speed Limit signs are ineffective

“Studies have shown that there are no significant changes in average vehicle speed following the posting of revised speed limits,” the city report says. “By and large, drivers choose their speed independent of the posted speed limit.” http://trafficalm.com/stop-signs-ineffective-traffic-calming/

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/mckinney/2010/04/17/McKinney-neighborhood-petitions-for-lower-speed-8467

Radar Speed Calming devices

Radar Speed Signs are considered Effective, Reliable and Affordable. Radar speed signs, also known as driver feedback signs, are traffic calming devices designed to slow speeders down by alerting them of their speed. They are being used across the country, and around the world, because they are effective at slowing speeding drivers down. Tests repeatedly show that:

  1. Speeders will slow down up to 80% of the time when alerted by a radar sign
  2. Typical speed reductions are 10-20%.
  3. Overall compliance with the posted speed limit will go up by 30-60%.
  4. Radar speed signs are particularly effective at getting “super speeders”—speeders driving 20 mph or more over the posted speed limit—to slow down
  5. Radar sign offers driver feedback signs that are attractive, easy to operate, and affordable. Our signs are constructed with a rugged design for durability, are weather and vandal resistant, and are 100% MUTCD compliant (https://www.radarsign.com/)

Radar Speed Display 1

Another web site has more options – http://trafficalm.com/

Radar Speed Display 2

Speed Bumps/Humps/Cushions – These are the most effective as they deter speeding vehicles. A slow vehicle has no impact.

“Road diets” are one approach to traffic calming. Road diets involve a reduction in the width or number of vehicular travel lanes and reallocate that space for other uses such as bicycle lanes, pedestrian crossing islands, left turn lanes, or parking.

US Department of Transportation has a web site with information on all different TRAFFIC CALMING OPTIONS –

https://www.transportation.gov/mission/health/Traffic-Calming-to-Slow-Vehicle-Speeds

City of Pleasanton Research on Speed Humps and Property Prices – (see below)

EconImpactSpeedHumps[1]

 

Why Stairs?

Walking Stairs – One of the most potent, no cost, no frill, ubiquitous, climate tolerant, readily available exercise that provides potential benefits. Though seemingly innocuous, walking stairs helps tone the core muscles plus enhance your stamina and build your endurance, in addition it also provides an easy means of burning three times extra calories as compared to walking or taking a stroll.

This blog provides an understanding about the benefits of walking stairs, calorie consumption, options while walking stairs and the tips for engaging in correct mechanism while doing so. It provides illustrations and reputed citations at the end of the blog.

Someone said it right, ‘The elevator to health is out of order, you need to take stairs’.

Disclaimer:

Before you embark on ‘Climbing Stairs’ as a form or exercise, I presume you have consulted your physician or cardiologists and you have their authorization to do these. If not, I strongly advise you to consult your doctor and get his approval before you initiate this.

Benefits of Stair Climbing

Where can I find Stairs?

Obviously an absurd question, you can almost find stairs anywhere – at home, work, recreation, shopping mall, schools, public places, or even walking up/down the knoll. Despite being ubiquitous, there is no money involved in enjoying climbing stairs. Running up and down a flight of stairs can raise your heart rate quickly.

Climbing Stairs – What does it offers?

Climbing stairs is one of the most potent aerobic exercises that I see after running, swimming, jogging and high intensity sports. Our lifestyle or other constraints often forbid us from participating in these high intensity sports, however, it is possible to engage in climbing stairs in our day to day life. Often, I see folks reside in two storied homes or live in apartments or work in office or offices with multiple floors. If you don’t have one, find one.

While I walk down the Valley Ranch trail, the entire hillock rolling down to the flat terrain, amounts to 13 floors. If you are working or live on the higher floor, may be walk couple of those. Stairs help you increase the heart rate faster than walking, providing 3 times increase in workload in a similar period of time.

Why Stairs?

Stairs exercises the core and antigravity muscles; it helps keep them healthy plus the bigger antigravity muscles such as the thigh and abdominals burn significant calories. Remember, antigravity muscles are the cornerstone of all our daily activities. Weakness in these causes us to slouch, get tired or even change our body contour. Walking stairs enhances and reinforces your core muscles such as abdominals, hamstrings, quadriceps, and soleus (calf muscles). Remember, it is utmost important to keep these muscles healthy for sustaining energy and long periods of work. Mere bulky muscles are not a strength of healthy muscles. Gyms and resistance training keeps your muscles ‘BIG’, whereas climbing Stairs keeps those healthy.

Calories burned – Walking and Stair Climbing compared

For 150 lbs. person, 30 minutes of walk on an even surface burns 90 calories. It is 30 calories extra for the one weighing 200 lbs.

For those amongst us who are 150-160 lbs., can use below approximation to count calories burned while climbing stairs

  • 3 flights of Stairs = 15 calories
  • 60 minutes, four days a week – could burn roughly 532 calories per session
  • 532 x 4 = 2218 calories/week
  • You lose about one pound in a week and a half

Stair options

Nanoworkouts Stair Options

  1. Climbing two stairs at a time increases not alone calorie consumption but also provides an additional exercise to the core muscles and the antigravity muscle.
  2. Increments of 10 minutes will offer sudden bursts in metabolism and help with possible weight loss.
  3. Walking down the stairs requires you to control your body from sliding down. This effort initiates your quadriceps and hip flexors to control the downward movement. They have to stabilize the torso from rolling down.
  4. You can almost blend other exercises such as raising your arms, carrying dumbbells, or twisting your body while walking down. Blending increases the calories burned. However, blending is to be avoided while walking downstairs
  5. Try to tuck your tummy in while climbing up and down the stairs, these will increase the tone of your abdominals (which help you sustain an erect posture) and also burn more calories

Remember these six tips while climbing stairs

  1. Put your entire foot on the step, leaning slightly forward, engage your core and tuck your tummy.
  2. Keep your toes straight rather than splaying them right or left.
  3. Though it sounds easy, give enough time while you are climbing down
  4. Always be well hydrated and adequate on calories, too much loading is bad, as is walking too many stairs while fasting.
  5. If you feel tired, skip a day but take an easy walk on an even surface.
  6. Fatigue sets in quickly and it’s important to maintain good form. Completing steps using bad form will stress/overload your body and potentially injure you. Always start small and increase gradually.

Summary:

One of the most potent, no cost, no frill, readily available exercise available that provides great benefits. It helps provide tone to the core muscles plus enhance your stamina or endurance in addition to providing an easy means of burning three times extra calories as compared to walking or strolling.

This and other health blogs are written for increasing an awareness within the community. There are no direct or indirect material benefits from this blog/s.

Illustrations are taken from StepJockey and Nanoworkouts.com.

Citations:

8 Way climbing Stairs

Exercise Tips for Harvard Stadium Stair Workout

Interesting Articles

Fitness for less: Low-cost ways to shape up

Barriers to fitness: Overcoming common challenges

Exercise Activity Calculator (American Cancer Society)

How Many Calories do I need? Calorie Counter (from American Cancer Society)

Calorie counting made easy

Walking: Your steps to health (Harvard Health Publishing)

How to Burn About 150 Calories (Harvard Health Publishing)

Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights

List of skeletal muscles of the human body

Build Anti-Gravity Muscle

Abdominal fat and what to do about it: Are you Pear Shaped or Apple Shaped?

Improving Sleep: A guide to a good night’s rest

Stretching: 35 exercises to improve flexibility and reduce pain (Harvard Health)

Marching orders: How to start a walking program

 

 

 

 

That Tribal ‘Forward’ Instinct

Facebook, WhatsApp and other News Media have only consolidated our beleaguered self. We want to spread the news before anyone. Any sensational news, irrespective of its impact on the common man, or the society in general, are circulated without due diligence.

I have two interesting stories to share – first, a hoax that is spreading on cancer and the second one, a notion that our religion or faith is under threat or fire.

For those without any technical understanding on cancer, it is a disease that is a consequence of loss of control by the body mechanism over it’s ability to stop incessant multiplication and subsequent spread beyond the organ of origin. This spread correlates with the stages of cancer, which most of my non medical readers are aware. Transformation of a normal cell to cancer is one of the most complex mechanisms, and every organ has multiple pathways of deregulations and within each organ, subtle differences exists that make certain cancers more dreaded than others. However, suffice it to say that current scientific literature is devoid of any evidence that links Vitamin B17 (Amygdalin or Laetrile). It is DEFINITELY NOT DUE TO DEFICIENCY OF VITAMIN B17.

Amygdaline

You may visit one of the latest landmark work in this field by Bode and Dong, ‘Toxic phytochemicals and their potential risks for human cancer’ (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289646/).

———————————–

Cancer is not a disease but a deficiency and manufactured by the drug industry

The hoax:

Cancer is not a disease but a deficiency of Vitamin B: It was a Sunday morning and as usual, a friend forwarded that. Of course his understanding on cancer is miniscule. However, worst, the same story was received from a retired professor from a medical school.

Sometimes, I fail to understand the logic. Some semi-experts who work on the fringe or periphery of the field, having some semblance of understanding about cancer, put up facts and fiction and circulate these stories. It is mainstream fashion to add little science and mix with much fiction (not tested hypothesis) and make a juicy story that will catch the imagination of the common man. I also fail to understand how these people think that all the researchers, all the medical practitioners and the entire paraprofessionals working in the field lack ethics and values. They ultimately try to prove that are the demystifier of the falsehood and the ultimate revealers of truth. By falsely claiming so, they not only malign and tarnish the ethos, values and hard work of all the people working in the field but end up widening the existing sense of trust deficit within the system.

The truth:

If you carefully see the picture below or review this with a doctor who has had fundamental learning (didactics) in pathology, I bet by consensus, you will find them disagreeing on the picture of cancer below. Anyone having seen cancer cells under a microscope will agree that the picture below has no resemblance to cancer cell. However, it has a closer resemblance, possibly to an imaginary octopus.

The link to that hoax – cancer is not a disease; it is a business. Cancer consists of only a deficiency of vitamin B17.

In our quest for knowledge, we are striving to understand, diagnose and manage the menace of cancer afflicting mankind. Much can be said about the progress that has achieved with cancer. However, we are humans and we are learning, every time we cross a barrier, we dismantle our earlier understanding and expand the horizons of our learning. Consequently, we see changing guidelines, part of the reason why we see differences in the practice from a decade and now.

Several links to the truth are innumerable, an important one here –

http://www.nature.com/nm/journal/v10/n8/full/nm1087.html

================

Our religion is under attack:

Though I cited an example of Muslim faith, Islam is not the only religion in the world that feels so. Recently, Hindus, Christians and other faith leaders are gradually immersing their ideology and believers to this proposition. So, let us understand these as phenomenon rather than a criticism for a particular religion.

It has become an in-thing to believe that one’s religion or ideology is under threat. If you presume, I am talking about Muslims, you need course correction. Believers, irrespective of religions feel their faith and ideology is under threat, or at least their so called guardians or believers want everyone, including those practicing, to believe so. The killing of a young woman in Virginia is a case in point.

Of course, this is another forward from a Muslim friend (but Muslims are not an exception) who shared news on how a Muslim girl, while leaving a Mosque after offering prayers, was killed as a consequence of a hate crime. Obviously, he wanted me to believe this happening. Being outside his religion, I could clearly see the bias and I pointed out that we should wait for the crime detection agencies to validate the cause. It can be any roadside ragamuffin who might have mugged/ attacked and it may not be a premeditated hate crime. The question was simple – a person bent on retribution will do a newsworthy act, not a roadside attack on a single person. To me, that was clearly an act of robbery rather than hate crime.

We have that tribal instinct deeply embedded within us that makes us spread rumors without validating those. It is that rudimentary instinct that does not think about responsible civic behavior. It has that uncanny childish attitude of keeping itself as the center of attraction. All these are at the cost of society, civil norms and years of systematic learning. While doing all these, we tend to forget the toll it takes on the society, the time consumed in discussing unrequired rumors, the trust deficit and the polarization that ensues.

The Hoax – The initial link from a news channel on the isolated hate crime

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/fairfax-loudoun-police-searching-for-missing-17-year-old-reported-to-have-been-assaulted/2017/06/18/02e379ac-5466-11e7-a204-ad706461fa4f_story.html

My obvious argument was to wait for the law agencies complete their investigation and prove the motive, then make an impression. Of course, such logical arguments are not liked or appreciated. As usual, this friend labeled me as ‘non-sympathetic’ towards his religion. In next 18 hours, the same newspaper published another news on the same incidence.

The truth – The story posted by same news channel 18 hours after the incidence

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/killing-of-muslim-teenager-not-being-investigated-as-a-hate-crime-police-say/2017/06/19/e7670f0a-54f0-11e7-ba90-f5875b7d1876_story.html?utm_term=.ac8cd960e97a

Let us think or validate before forwarding

We all have a responsibility to filter the information and think through the consequences of forwarding newsworthy items. Spreading sensational, unvalidated news without understanding the impact amounts to irresponsible civic behavior that may cast doubt on our character. It is closer to our tribal instincts and drowns all the civilized efforts and education we so much fashion ourselves with.

Donate for Tornado Affected

In the last few days that I have been talking with my family friends and professional circle and I got a deep realization that, that benevolence, that kindness is deep within you all. I am no exception. You all feel so strongly for the cause of those affected.

It bonds us when we stand together in times of crisis, when we share the pain and pathos, when we lend a hand to get them back to life. None of those whom I approached declined to help. Everyone I turned towards for getting this help is equally motivated and supportive towards those affected. Time is of essence and those who have lost the roof over their head don’t have a holiday, weekdays and weekends sound same to those distraught.

Canton and a swath of East Texas were hit by Tornado on April 29, 2017. As per one government estimate, almost 5200 addresses were significantly damaged or affected. Many amongst these were those who are economically deprived and never had any coverage – home or auto. Looking at the plight, it is natural desire to help these victims. While the local and state government are doing their best, it is utmost important that, we citizen/residents who are not affected share their pain and plight.

Roof blown away

Roof Gone

It bonds us when we stand together in times of crisis, when we share the pain and pathos, when we lend a hand to get them back to life. None of those whom I approached declined to help. Everyone I turned towards for getting this help is equally motivated and supportive towards those affected. Time is of essence and those who have lost the roof over their head don’t have a holiday, weekdays and weekends sound same to those distraught.

No Home left Behind

No Home Left Behind.png

In the last few days that I have been talking with my family friends and professional circle and I got a deep realization that, that benevolence, that kindness is deep within you all. I am no exception. You all feel so strongly for the cause of those affected.

Trust me, you will be amazed how strong that feeling resides within each of us and when you approach your network, you will be surprised to see those deeply embedded humane feelings, that aptitude to help someone not related to us.

Together we can, small contributions help

Can you pledge an amount for those affected? Only 5% of that amount should come directly from your pocket, the remainder should be from your network of family, friends and profession.

  • You pledge an amount, say $200
    • Only 5% donated you
    • 95% from your network
  • Please ask your family members, friends and professionals to pledge additionally and create their own network of donors
  • Money goes directly to the City of Canton, no intermediate handling of the donations
    • VZCtornadorelieffund2017
    • The above account is set up by the Van Zandt County for the Tornado affected victims
  • You only collate the names of those donors and the amount they donated
  • Donors can contact Commissioner s Office to validate the cause and the account details on below address –
    • Susan Strickland, Secretary to the Commissioner’s Office, Van Zandt County, Texas
    • Commissioners office can be reached out on 903 567 2166
    • You may Google and reach their office

Those without a roof on their head have no Saturday or Sunday, Night and Day are same for them. Please don’t wait, do it as a priority and do it before you forget. This world exists with the benevolence of us all.

Thank you,

Ash Heda

PS: If you have a question, please reach me on my cell (972 345 0508) or email (ash1201@gmail.com)

Faces of destruction – news and images, ‘Tornado Ravaged Van Zandt County’, April 29, 2017 –

Rebuilding Canton and vicinity: http://wp.me/p7XEWW-RL

Officer Ron Duke’s Story: http://wp.me/p7XEWW-So

Campaign launched –

Deeper Discount to Tornado affected – http://wp.me/p7XEWW-SR

Petition on Change.Org for Discounted Material

National Weather Service Ranks East Texas Tornado

Surviving the Storm: Life After East Texas Tornadoes

Canton Car Dealership takes a direct hit

10 Dead, Dozens Hurt After Tornadoes Hit Texas, South

Fruitvale Church Puts Their Faith To Action Cleaning Up

Tornados rip through Canton, Van Zandt County, killing at least four and injuring dozens

 

Officer Ron Duke’s Story in his own words

As I was walking out to my shop, I heard the unmistakable sound of a freight train coming. Since there is no train service around my house, I knew that this was it. I went back into the house and I got everybody in back hallway. We grabbed some pillows, held on to each other and started to pray. The noise in the house grew and then the house was shaking. There was banging, as debris struck the house and then we heard the breaking of glass.

What is so terrifying is not knowing if the intensity of the storm hitting the house is going to get worse and rip the house apart, of if this is as bad as it will get. When it finally stops, you wonder if this is just the eye of the storm, or
if it is finally over.

Ron Duke 03b Aerial

Preface from Ash Heda –

On April 29, 2017 four tornadoes hit Canton, Texas. Five people lost their lives, according to one official account, almost 5000 addresses are affected. Several people lost their precious (and in few cases only) belongings. These tornadoes devastated their lives. Ron Duke, my neighbor in Canton, Texas almost had a near death experience. He is a brave police officer and has seen several calamities but none was as horrifying and of this magnitude. Below, please Ron’s story in his own words with graphic details of the incidence when the tornado swept their home where his entire family was having their supper. (I urge readers to visit the ‘Gofundme’ link and help the Duke’s rebuild their life).

Officer Ron Duke below –

(I attached 2 pictures of my son’s house and car, home phone service is still spotty so email or text is the best way to contact us.)

On Sat, 04-29-17, at about 1800 hrs. (6pm) I was at my house, getting ready to eat dinner.

My wife, my 18 yr. son, Joshua, my 16 yr. daughter, along with her highschool friend, Brice, my oldest son Justin, and Justin’s wife, were all at my house.  Justin, who is a full time firefighter/ paramedic with Arlington, and also works part time for Canton Fire Department, was in my shop, working his side job, to refurbish and sell emergency vehicle lights.  At about this time, the warnings started to come in about a severe storm in SW Van Zandt County.  I got my police radio and monitored the emergency traffic.  I heard that a tornado struck an area, 10-15 miles SW of my house and that it had caused severe damage.  Off duty officers were being called in to assist with the emergency.  I went and got my police uniform on and my youngest son, Josh, said he wanted to come and help with search and rescue.  Justin left our house to head to the Canton FD and I went out to the shed to get some extra firefighting bunker gear, so that Josh and I would have some extra protection.

How injured neighbors helped each other – To hear KLTV Clip, click Here

As I was walking out to my shop, I heard the unmistakable sound of a freight train coming.  Since there is no train service around my house, I knew that this was it. I went back into the house and I got everybody in back hallway.  We grabbed some pillows, held on to each other and started to pray.  The noise in the house grew and then the house was shaking.  There was banging, as debris struck the house and then we heard the breaking of glass.  What is so terrifying is not knowing if the intensity of the storm hitting the house is going to get worse and rip the house apart, of if this is as bad as it will get.  When it finally stops, you wonder if this is just the eye of the storm, or
if it is finally over.

We waited a little bit and then came out of the hallway.  We found that about half the shingles on our roof were damaged/ missing, some bricks were knocked out of a wall and several windows were broken.  My house is (now, was) surrounded by large trees.

Justin's Car

My son Justin, as he was driving to the Canton FD, looked in his rear view mirror and saw the tornado hit our house.  He came back to help us.  Many of these trees were knocked down, limbs everywhere, electric lines and poles down.  All of our vehicles were trapped by the downed trees and such, so I texted a neighbor, Eric Whitaker.  Eric and his son, Gavin quickly came with a tractor.  Eric cleared away everything, so we could get out of the driveway.  As we were clearing away the limbs, some of the Canton FD crew notified my son Justin, that his house, on Hw 198, was gone.

(More on Justin and Aerial Duke’s story, click the link here http://www.kltv.com/story/35399022/newlyweds-reunited-with-wedding-ring-lost-in-tornado-debris)

We realized that there was nothing we could do at my place for the night, so we headed over to Justin’s house.  The closer we got to his house, the worse the damage was.  When we got to the address of Justin’s house, we saw that it was truly gone.  Nothing left but some of the foundation.  His car was picked up and destroyed and the 40 foot shipping container, where store extra inventory, was missing.  (The completely smashed container was located the next day, about 1 mile away.)

My wife, daughter, and the friend then went to a friend’s house in Edgewood, where they had power.  Ariel and Justin went to Ariel’s’ parents’ house and Joshua and I went to the Canton command post.  EMS was staging at the Canton HS band hall.  We stayed there was awhile and then Josh went to the TX DOT location to assist in search and rescue.  I went to the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office to see if I could help, but they had things under control there.  I decided to go to my house and sleep in my car. I was concerned with thieves.  While I was at home, two guys in a pickup truck drove up.  I stopped and challenged them and they claimed, “we heard the fire dept. needed some help with cutting trees, with chain saws.”  I told them wrong location and the left.

After a long, cold and uncomfortable night in my car, we started on my house first thing Sunday.  Many, many people showed up to help.  Friends, neighbors, friends of friends, strangers, all came out to help.  We got my entire house roof covered with tarping and we got and removed a HUGE amount of debris.  Sunday was a long day, but a protective day. What we are now working on is to place into storage tubs, the contents of my 40 x 80 shed.  I have many, many shelves of books, so it will be a task.

Please continue to pray for the families of those who have been injured, lost homes and property and especially, those that have lost loved ones.

https://www.gofundme.com/3pv7amo

Thank you.

“This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.”

Psalm 91:2

http://www.click2houston.com/news/survivors-recount-moments-living-through-at-least-three-tornadoes-rip-through-east-texas

(at about the 1:52 mark, you can see the Sides Pea Farm, which was across the street from my place)

http://www.click2houston.com/news/survivors-recount-moments-living-through-at-least-three-tornadoes-rip-through-east-texas

http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/texas-news/raw-unedited-rescue-dear-jesus-please-let-this-b
aby-breath/435461265

http://www.kltv.com/story/35286838/national-weather-service-4-confirmed-tornadoes-hit-east-texas-survey-could-take-days

http://www.kltv.com/clip/13289725/raw-tornado-tears-through-texas

Ron Duke
Canton, TX