For three days following Thanksgiving, the weather got nasty in Newton as the first winter storm of the season rolled into town.
Though we got off much better than our neighbors to the west, a quarter inch of ice tore down tree limbs, brought down power lines, covered the roads and contributed to a two person fatality accident in the county.
Most of us holed up with leftovers, blankets and hoped the lights stayed on and we had to leave the house as little as possible.
But some had to go on duty and brave the freezing wet mess to make sure all of us stayed safe and the electricity kept flowing.
We owe them, the county road crews, linemen, police officers and sheriff’s deputies, our thanks.
County and city road crews dropped sand and 142 tons of salt on area roads to make sure we could drive. Roads for the most part, stayed in decent shape considering in town the conditions, and while many other school districts had to close on Monday, Newton schools could stay open thanks to navigable streets.
Lights did go out in some parts of town, but Westar crews were up working through the night and early morning hours up until Monday to make sure energy was restored.
The Sheriff’s office and Newton Police Department responded to calls, helped motorists and worked a few accidents. There was one two person fatality accident in the county. There was another six person single vehicle accident near Newton on I-135. The Harvey County Sheriff’s Office responded to an average months worth of accidents-20- in the short period.
One could simply shrug off the contributions of all the people mentioned by saying it’s their job and they get paid to do it. But many take such jobs for the reasons of helping people.
Perhaps the most notable story comes from David West, who was working to treat the roads.
In doing so, he came upon a traffic accident, lent the help he could to a woman on the scene and was with a 14-year-old boy providing comfort to him in his final minutes of life.
West was thanked by the Harvey County Commission but we believe he and all of those who do what they can in service to the public deserve added recognition.
It’s easy to get impatient that your neighborhood road isn’t cleared. It’s easy to complain that power hasn’t yet come on. But on the other end of those complaints are many men and women their best to keep the city and county running.
So thank you much to all those who did so during this recent winter storm.
Your help is greatly appreciated.