Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Vaccinations - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Vaccinations


In 1954, the younger brother of one of my first grade classmates was unfortunately infected with polio, which at the time was one of the world’s most troublesome childhood diseases. He was one of the 58,000 polio cases in the US that year. The disease could cause breathing problems and on rare cases, paralysis. At the time, there were all kinds of flyers showing kids being treated in iron lungs or wearing leg braces walking with crutches.

Funds were raised for polio research through the March of Dimes, which was initiated during the Great Depression by President Roosevelt since he suffered from the disease. It was thought even during the Depression, anyone could afford a thin dime. The contributions funded the successful work of Dr. Jonas Salk, who develop the polio vaccine.


Thanks to Dr. Salk’s efforts, the polio vaccine has essentially eradicated the disease from the face of the earth. I distinctly recall our first grade class traveling by school bus to Sidney to get our polio shots. The Shelby County Health department was located in the basement of the Courthouse in Sidney under the large cement stairs heading up to the court rooms.


The area was cold, dark and dank, elevating our fears even more beyond being scared about the polio shot. In the line ahead of me, several classmates, both boys and girls, started crying when given the shot, a situation I was bound and determined to avoid. And to make matters worse, the bus was parked waiting for us across the courthouse square at the site of the County jail. To no surprise, someone screamed when they thought they saw a prisoner starring down through a barred window in the jail!

That polio shot hurt like heck and to this day, I have a fear of shots of all kinds. Just ask my wife, as recently we received the shingles shot. I literally jerked my arm spontaneously even though the nurse had only used a cotton swab dipped in alcohol to clean the area where the shot was to be administered! Still the shot was much worse, while my wife and the nurse both got a huge chuckle at my expense.

As youngsters growing up in the 50’s, we had to have seemingly never-ending vaccinations beyond polio, such as small pox, chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, whopping cough, hepatitis B, influenza, etc, etc. Almost every kid back then has a severe scar on their left upper arm as evidence of the many vaccinations.

These days, some parents are opting out of these vaccinations because of a fear their child could develop autism or other such serious disorders. The son of a friend of ours became a paraplegic some time after receiving his vaccinations at a young age and to this day, his mother swears the vaccinations and/or tainted well water were the culprits. Because more parents today are opting out of vaccinations for their children, diseases that had literally disappeared for generations are resurfacing. For example, measles cases across the United States likely broke a record for 2019 as indicated in the chart below.


Situations like this and many other considerations make raising children today very complicated. Parents back in the 1950’s no doubt were concerned with our well-being, but at the same time, seemed to kinda let us do our own thing and accepted the consequences. This short video accurately describes the times back then. Those times were definitely fun and memorable.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Airplane Safety - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Airplane Safety


Last Wednesday as we were traveling to the airport for a flight to Florida, traffic was bad so our Lyft driver took a detour under a railroad viaduct that was the site of a 1987 airplane crash, Northwest flight 255. Coincidentally, that was the same morning as a Ukrainian plane was shot down by Iran's missile defense system on the heals of Iran firing over a dozen ballistic missiles at US airbases in Iraq. So needless to say, our 2 1/2 hour flight to Florida was a little nerve-racking. To make matters worse, we were even seated in an exit row as I like the extra leg room.


As usual, my wife and I held hands and prayed a silent act of contrition and Our Father on take-off. Fortunately, the prayers worked (as did the pilots, mechanics and flight attendants), since all went well and we arrived safely.

My nephew is a pilot so at Christmas, we had a chance to talk about his work and airline safety. He claimed airplanes are almost 100 times safer than automobiles. I looked it up and indeed with autos someone has a 1 in 114 chance of dying in a car crash sometime over your lifetime while the airline odds are 1 in 9821. One interesting note about the data, private planes are not nearly as safe as a commercial airliners and provide about the same probability as dying in an automobile. This chart shows the dramatic improvement in airplane fatality rates over the last 50 years.


This trend represents quite a safety improvement while during the same period, airline travel was increasing seven-fold. This map taken at mid-day really demonstrates the current state of airline travel.


Back to that Northwest flight 255 that crashed into the Detroit area viaduct in 1987, a four year old named Cecelia Cichan was the only survivor. She’s now 36 and has filmed this excerpt from a documentary about her life and others who have survived airplane crashes.






Regarding the Ukrainian plane, here’s a video of the Iranian missile taking it down. There were unfortunately no survivors.


Safe travels, Fish Report readers! Be careful driving to the airport!

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Naval Recruits - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Naval Recruits


Watching Navy beat KSU 20-17 in the Liberty Bowl last week on a last second trick play brought back memories of recruiting former Naval officers back in the mid-70’s while working at Ford Motor Company. The midshipmen played that bowl game with such discipline and precision to gain their 11th victory of the season. That’s what allowed the trick play to work; Kansas State was not suspecting a pass in a tie game on 4th down and 3 on the 50 yard line since Navy runs the veer offense featuring a predominant running game.


But that exemplifies the exact reason we would recruit former Naval officers, graduate engineers from the Naval Academy, who had met their service obligations but decided against a career in the Navy. These candidates had the requisite technical and leadership skills to step right into key jobs at Ford and perform brilliantly. Their Naval Academy degree coupled with the shipboard experience as an officer perfectly prepared them for work at Ford Engineering.

Ford Motor Company's connection to the Naval academy started during WWII when Henry Ford II served as a Naval officer where he met and was impressed with many of the academy graduates. As the war was progressing in 1943; however, Ford's father Edsel died of cancer, so Henry Ford II was sent back home to run the company that was intimately involved with war production. Being only 26, Ford brought in a team of 10 of the best and brightest from the armed services, nicknamed the Whiz Kids.


This team of 10 executives shown in the first row of the above photo led Ford’s efforts after the war to restart vehicle production in the US and rebuild the bombed out Ford factories in Europe. The Whiz kids concurrently started the recruiting policy of hiring armed services officers into the company. I recall on a long flight to Europe in about 1980 sitting next to Whiz Kid Ed Lundy, who had been CFO of Ford before retiring in 1979. Henry Ford II had plucked him from the Army Air Force Statistical Team, so Ed was a real numbers guy for sure.

Ed couldn’t sleep on airplanes and neither could I, so he just kept telling story after story about the Whiz Kid days. If only I could just remember them, I’d have blog fodder for years! Seems it’s easy to recall things you personally lived through, but hard to remember events in other peoples lives.


Speaking of memories, I recall a Washington, DC recruiting trip to interview a number of potential Naval candidates over several days. The interviews were held at the historic Washington Naval Yard pictured above. The best candidates were invited to Ford Headquarters in Dearborn for additional interviews, but first had to have their references checked. Since most of the references were typically their Naval superior officers, we would stay over to talk to them personally about each recruit. The candidates had already indicated they would be leaving the Navy, so their officers were free and open to share their insight about the candidates. I recall talking to one reference who had just been assigned as Captain of the presidential yacht Sequoia docked on nearby Chesapeake Bay, so we met on board if you can believe that!


Being on the presidential yacht was a real thrill. And the Captain was very gracious and professional, highly recommending our selected candidate as an engineer for Ford. The candidate went on to have a stellar career at Ford, retiring a few years after I did. We see each other regularly at Ford retiree functions. Incidentally, the Sequoia is currently being restored in Maine as described in this article.

Ford still recruits from the military academies to this day, as the same principles still apply now as back then; talent and leadership are paramount to success. Check out this stirring tribute by Kiss’s Gene Simmons to all the military academies.


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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy New Year! - Dave's Midwestern Ohio Memories

Series of Guest Blogs by an out-of-state Fish Report reader originally from this area about fond memories of growing up in Midwestern Ohio during the 50’s & 60’s

Happy New Year!

With a new decade arriving soon, it’s a good time to look back and reflect on the past before we jump into 2020! Or maybe you choose to simply stay focused on the present. Whatever your perspective, time moves on for sure, it seems the faster the older you get. The years truly have just flown by.

Over the last decade, the sports scene in Midwestern Ohio has really seemed to blossom. Thanks to being retired and the internet (especially Fish Report), I can stay attuned from afar to all the local high school sports events. Between the SCAL and MAC, it just doesn’t get any better. Looking back over the last decade, there are so many successful high school programs, teams, coaches and players, that it’s arguably impossible to pick the best of the decade. But I’m going to do so anyway. My pick is Ft. Loramie’s girls basketball coach Carla Siegel.


Why Carla? Well, she’s a very talented educator as well as coach, who seems to bring out the best in her student-athletes. No doubt she can look over her 5th grade class at Loramie Elementary and visualize the girls with the demeanor, intelligence and early athletic skills who will be playing for her a few years later. Having won two state championships and six SCAL championships over this past decade, and arguably on the verge of adding to the list this season, Carla really stands out.


It’s no surprise how successful Carla is, given her parents are Vernon and Mary Jo Siegel, with whom I grew up in Ft. Loramie. The school bus's first stop was at our place, followed next by picking up Mary Jo and her 7 siblings including brother Joe whom I had written about in this previous blogpost. If I recall, Mary Jo was a cute cheerleader and Vernon an excellent basketball player for the Redskins. And they were high school sweethearts, and still are, as pictured below.


Good luck, Carla, with the rest of your season and the best to your parents.


There’s another area coach whose parents I knew well, Fairlawn’s Brad Francis, upper right in this photo. His parents, Tom and Corrine, were exceptional people, as is Brad!


Tom & Corrine were responsible for establishing the Francis Women’s Center at Wilson Health in Sidney. Here’s hoping for Brad’s success in his new coaching position. May he be my best of the decade in 2030!

Back to 2020, here are some New Years quotes and jokes from the past:


"I wish for everyone this New Year an opportunity to earn sufficient, to have that which they need for their own and to give that which they desire to others, to bring in to the lives of those about them some measure of joy, to know the satisfaction of work well done, of recreation earned and therefore savored, to end the year a little wiser, a little kinder and therefore a little happier.” Eleanor Roosevelt


If your born on October 1st, its pretty safe to assume your parents started out the New Year with a Bang!

May all your troubles last as long as your New Year resolutions.


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