(c)2013 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL
Children don't seem to be worried about work and travel when snow arrives.
Thursday afternoon Bart Kyker walked along Armory Road with his son, Braxton.
Gary Kyker and son, Bart, had already closed Kyker Automotive before the
storm. Braxton will be five on February 27. He and I will be carefully watching
Mr. Groundhog February 2 for clues as to future winter storms.
|Published: 7:24 PM, 01/18/2013
||Last updated: 7:27 PM, 01/18/2013
Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk
By last Wednesday afternoon the
rain had slowed and the Pigeon River racing through our hometown began to retreat and level drop so
that most of us remained dry, though we had to get the mop and vacuum out at the Plain Talk.
Yet things got progressively worse as those of you know who were on the
highways Thursday afternoon when the mini-blizzard hit. The Plain Talk carriers were managing to
get the paper delivered but our district manager Elaine Becker got her car stuck off Good Hope
Road. Circulation Manager Pat Helms and I drove out to get her. There were a few vehicles off the
road, on top of fence lines, in ditches. Later at Mobile Pit Stop Sheriff Armando Fontes, chatting
with James Holt, was fueling up and said there had been an accident on Armory Road. Perhaps you got
behind a line of icy slow cars, yet by night the county and state workers had cleared most of the
roads. Newport Utilities and Wolf Tree trimmers worked into the early morning hours to get power
restored in areas such as Bogard and Cosby and deserve our thanks.
had a lot of water running into the floor at the Plain Talk because much of the 1920s era brick
wall is below ground level. I've seen many a flooded floor over the decades but this was one of the
worst. We got the newspaper out Thursday and this weekend one too. Wasn't it strange to be driving
to work Friday morning dealing with 20-degree weather, sheets of ice, and then fog by 9 a.m.?
This cooler weather reminded me of a story I began to gather with photos
of the running Sheltons. Last Wednesday I had a chance to talk at length with our former employee
Lydia Shelton and her husband, better known as "Yogi." You will read about their adventures here
soon. I also found out about Sharon Lee Hoyt, who is in the Union Cemetery mausoleum and will
share this sad story with you.
Lt. John Bockmann's story
You recall that we met Lt. Bockmann at
the Newport Kiwanis Club where he presented a program on his mercy helicopter flying in Pakistan.
John had an early interest in aircraft, visiting air shows at Barksdale Air Force Base. He also got
to fly in a Beechcraft Bonanza as a boy, saw Tom Cruise in "Top Gun" to inspire him. I wondered why
he did not get into the Air Force Academy and it is because of slight nearsightedness. He and I
love literature and he did as many do and got an education, then taught school in California.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University helped him get his commercial flying license. He enlisted in
the Army as a Black Hawk helicopter mechanic, served as a crew chief, and was selected for flight
school as a warrant officer. Can you imagine that he was considered old in his 20s for the Air
Force flight program and that's why he chose the Army road. It was at Embry-Riddle in Prescott,
Arizona, that he met the former Katherine Kisabeth. They were next-door neighbors. He connected to
her through Facebook. Earlier she had been living with Dr. Robert and Brenda (Bailey) in Valencia,
Calif. While John was in an Alabama flight school, Katherine took an internship in an Atlanta law
firm so they only got to see each other on weekends.
Helicopters deliver aid and life
The determination paid off as he became a UH-60 pilot sent to Northern
Pakistan in Aug. 2010, not for combat but to provide relief aid as he described to us at the
Kiwanis Club. US Army helicopters and aircraft ferried relief supplies after the flood that damaged
7,000 schools, 400 health care facilities, and damaging 5,000 miles of roads. The damage had been
estimated at $7 billion.
"The very young and the very old" are
affected by events such as these and the war in Afghanistan. Lt. Bockmann also said the Pakistan
people are emotional-"huggers"-religious, poor, family-oriented, and speak multi-languages because
of the proximity to so many countries.
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