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“Removal of a Grove of Trees & A Colonoscopy”

February 5, 2011

What does the “Removal of a Grove of Trees and A Colonoscopy” have in common? The answer: “Both are a form of Prevention.” Let me explain.

Recently, two groves of trees in Stafford County were removed by road and bridge crews. The trees sat immediately adjacent to 90 degree turns in the highway. Three lives were lost in three separate accidents at these locations – all in fairly recent history.

The removal of the trees doesn’t mean there won’t be another fatality accident at these spots, but it does mean the loss of life won’t be attributed to a collision with a hearty cottonwood.

Like the removal of the trees, I have a similar reason why I decided to get a colonoscopy yesterday. Four of my aunts and uncles have died of cancer – one dying of colon cancer at close to my same age. When there’s a simple procedure available to detect a threat to your life, you’d be foolish not to have the procedure done.

People vary in their ability to embrace prevention. Some see the benefits without having to witness tragedy, some have to see tragedy – often requiring it to happen close to them, and others simply ignore the concept altogether.

During my career, I’ve witnessed prevention practiced in all ways. A Street Worker in Salina was killed when a car struck him while he worked on a roadway. Thereafter, the street crews went to extremes with roadway signage and cones.

Another accident claimed the life of a man when a trench collapsed. Mandatory OSHA training for everyone working in trenches and strict adherence to shoring followed.

On the flip side, Salina was one of the first fire departments in the State of Kansas to hire a full-time Public Educator. Nobody can name the lives the person in that position saved, but it’s fair to say there were many.

To most I appear to be an extremist when it comes to prevention. I would like to say it’s because I have great insight like the Salina Fire Chief who established the Public Educator position, but that’s not true. I belong in the category of seeing tragedy up close – way too many times.

Nobody will be able to name the lives that the Stafford County R & B crew saved by removing the two groves of trees. But, to me they are heroes in every sense of the word.

“Thank You R & B Crew
“Thank You Dr. Young”

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