Monday, January 24, 2011

Not Too Old

We had a flag football game after church Sunday afternoon. I refuse to accept that I'm too old to play. I found my old tennis shoes and bundled up against the cold wind and went out on the field. It was a lot of fun. I caught a few passes and dropped a few more. I pulled a couple of flags and missed several others. We really didn't keep score. We just counted off and went out to play. We had children and teenagers seperated to make it more fun. I don't ever remember being able to run as fast as those kids can go. I must have been moving around quite a bit. My legs and back feel like some muscles that haven't moved around much in the last year or so got a workout. I operate the Teleprompter with a foot pedal, and that little step on the pedal sent a definite protest to the pain receptor corners of somewhere. If you see me grimace, it's probably from that pain...and not from the news.

I'm not too old. I was just born too many years ago. Those kids who only know about Apollo Eleven and Neil Armstrong's giant leap for mankind on the moon. Stepping down the single step from the news desk seems like a giant leap for me today.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

One Year and Many Memories Later: A Look Back to Haiti

Hey all, it's Tim, and it's hard for me to believe it's been one year since I went with Dyess crews to Haiti.


Even more, it's hard to believe that country is still digging up remains and rubble from that massive quake.

Yes, it was bad. Yes, the country has it's "problems."

But when you think of a year's time passing, you think things would be closer to "normal."

My heart breaks just thinking that people in need one year ago, still need help.

At the same time, my heart rejoices knowing that several friends of mine just returned from their trip to Haiti to do just that, help those who haven't been helped.

But back to the start of this blog, I really enjoyed my time as an embedded reporter with the Dyess crews. They were kind to accommodate a few local journalists, but even beyond that they were extremely flexible.

One of the bigger frustrations for us as the traveling media was the uncertainty of our trip. One hour we'd be given the green light, the next hour we'd be told it was called off.

It's hard to handle when the deadlines to produce content don't change! Plus, three days of the "go-no go" roller coaster ride wears on you physically and emotionally, especially when we just wanted to be in Haiti where the action was at!

After finally "getting there," (which I say in quotes because we never left the airports tarmac) it was humbling to see the destruction from the air, and even more to see the people leaving everything behind.

I recall sitting on a crowded C-130, with refugees all around, many sat expressionless and idle. I thought to myself, "Where's the relief, where's the joy to get out of such destruction?"
Then I looked at the back of the cargo, for the 50 or so refugees, there were maybe 20 pieces of luggage.
It hit me. They were leaving everything! There's no way all of their clothes and possessions packed up in just a suitcase. On top of that, you know this wasn't a scenario where you lock your front door and hope you turned off the coffee maker.

There was rioting. There was looting. There was no way their homes or lives would ever be the same!

Another observation I continue to carry with me from the plane ride was the sight of the little children. On the flight, we passed out bottles of water to everyone, with many more to spare.

Yet, I watched kids cherish these bottles of water, one even hid his bottle it under a blanket.

My heart sank. Here was something we had a full supply of and yet this was something he didn't know if it would last long enough. Now, I have stopped and considered maybe he wasn't thirsty, but studying his body language you could see he was protecting the bottle.

The last and biggest memory I carry with me from that plane flight, was the sight of our media contact, a sergeant in the Air Force ride for two hours from Haiti to Miami on the floor of the plane holding a man who was physically unstable.

He held his hand and consoled him, he helped him stay propped up during the flight, he even helped clean up after the man "spit up."

It was the single greatest act of kindness and love you could imagine, and a true testament as to why these men and women were making these aide missions.

When we landed in Miami, in one voice the men and women turned to everyone and thanked them saying, "Thank you to the United States Air Force."

I cannot even begin to imagine what life would've been like outside our C-130, in the streets, with rubble all around, but I know in our own "little world" there were many victories and moments that stand out, even one year later.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Warm Newsroom

I worked as a reporter here at KTAB back in the 80's and 90's. It was often fun and exciting to cover the events as they were going on. I enjoyed the job...except those days when I had to wear a necktie when the thermometer topped the century mark...or when we had to concentrate to feel our fingers because of the cold. I'm now confined to the news desk most of the day producing and then delivering the news. It's not quite as exciting. But, it's a lot more comfortable. One of our photographers was leaving the building the building as I was coming in this morning. He was bundled up with a hat, gloves and a thick layer of jackets. He was smiling, but he was obviously cold. I saw Victor Sotelo and Priscilla Luong filing their reports from Colorado City. Their reports are vitally important, but they were obviously cold. Thank you guys for your hard work. Thanks to all of you who have outside jobs on days like today. There are construction crews, farmers, emergency service providers and others who have service to provide regardless of the temperatures. We appreciate your toughness. Thanks