Disaster response

Dear Editor:I wanted to say a special thanks to everyone that helped when a truck flipped over and started leaking propane on May 14. I was awakened by helicopters, checked the news and found that the overturned truck was on Stewart and Gray Road, just on the other side of the Arco gas station. The station is across the street from my home and Kirkwood Christian Elementary School where I am principal. By 6 a.m. Downey police told me that I should make plans to have my campus evacuated. Since the place of normal evacuation was also in the red zone, phone calls went out to the Downey Unified School District for emergency help and an alternative evacuation facility. I would like to thank all the people that helped secure the relocation and safety of the students of Kirkwood Christian School's campus. Thank you to Superintendent Dr. Wendy Doty and Assistant Superintendent Stan Hanstad for being quick with a plan of action securing us a campus and transportation for the students and staff. Thank you to Jose and his team of bus drivers for not only transporting the children but for being on-call if returning to campus was going to be an option. I would like to say an extra special thank you to Principal Brent Shubin for not just housing us at East Middle School, but making us feel at home. The faculty and staff at East was more than hospitable and they went out of their way to make my staff feel like they were part of the staff for the day and provided us with extra resources and activities to make the children feel engaged and on a fun field trip. By the time the day ended 12 hours later, I remember feeling a sense of awe in the fact that this is how a community should come together in the light of a possible tragedy. From the police, fire and haz-mat securing the area, to the school district making sure that every child in the area was safe, these are the stories that should echo in the hearts of the citizens of Downey. I know that a lot of businesses were affected and the Firestone Boulevard closure was a commuting nightmare, but at the end of the day when everyone got to go home to their families and no one was hurt, all in all it was a very successful, God merciful day. - Jennifer Kirkwood-Hartl, Principal, Kirkwood Christian Schools

********** Published: May 21, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 5