The Duncan Banner


November 3, 2013

Nothing ordinary about the box

DUNCAN — “The impromptu announcement came from the back of the Redbud Courtyard meeting room in the Simmons Center. It was closer to the beginning of last week’s Rotary meeting than the end.

A table of members – whose names aren’t necessarily important for today’s column but who sit together at what we affectionately call the “judges” table – had enthusiastically pitched in $1,000 to purchase a box. They challenged other “tables” or individuals or groups of members to match their effort with equal excitement.

It wasn’t, you see, just any box.

Unbeknown to Rotarians here, our global organization – there are 1.2 million members in 34,000 clubs throughout the world -- is involved with a sister club in England that makes and distributes boxes.

Special boxes.

They’re called ShelterBoxes and they’re designed to help families who lose everything when disaster strikes. They provide emergency shelters, literally, and lifesaving equipment and tools that help bring self-sufficiency and survival to the most immediate and needy of recovery efforts.

Local members learned of the program two weeks ago when David Shirley of Norman told us about the Helston-Lizard club in Cornwall, United Kingdom and its unique idea, when he explained most organizations seek to provide food, water and medical care in the aftermath of a catastrophic event and when he noted ShelterBoxes have been filling a critical need since 2000.

Listeners at the judges’ table heard the message. They looked through the sample box Shirley had on display. And they made something positive happen.

It’s an example of the Rotary spirit that makes so worthwhile the organization here and in 200 other countries.

Boxes, we learned, are customized to the particular event, but there is a core list of supplies for each. All equipment and supplies are new.

A sturdy tent with privacy partitions that can withstand high winds, heavy rainfall and extreme temperatures is essential. Ancillary components might include thermal blankets, insulated ground cover and mosquito netting or water purification tools where necessary.

A tool kit with a hammer, axe, saw, trenching shovel, hoe head, pliers and wire cutters enable survivors to cut firewood or dig a latrine.

A wood burning or multi-fuel stove that can burn anything from diesel to old paint is accompanied by pans, bowls, mugs and utensils for boiling water, cooking food or even staying warm.

And a children’s pack contains drawing books, crayons and other supplies that might generate a smile or relieve anxiety.

Fully and carefully packed, each box weighs approximately 120 pounds and is 33 inches by 24 inches by 22 inches. Each is sealed and banded for transit and security. And the box itself can be used for various needs like a cot or food container.

Since its 2000 founding, ShelterBoxes – still headquartered in England but with an affiliate in the United States and 15 other countries and a partnership with Rotary – has responded to nearly 200 disasters in 75 countries, providing aid to more than 600,000 people made homeless through no fault of their own.

It’s a practical and remarkable idea, one with great appeal for donors seeking opportunities to embrace a cause perhaps previously overlooked or neglected and one certainly not limited to Rotary Clubs or Rotarians.

It’s a strong message, one that easily and visually grabs your attention and shows almost immediately the benefit of a financial gift.

And it’s an inspiring response by a table of good guys moved by the presentation and a desire to help, one that hopefully encourages other club members to join their commitment and other community residents to see a similar value.

That a single green box can make such an impact, that it can provide shelter and warmth, dignity, recovery and hope is a gift not to be taken for granted.

If you have an interest in supporting so worthy a cause, contact a Rotarian for assistance or drop a check, for any amount, to P.O. Box 203, Duncan, Okla. 73534.

(580) 255-5354, Ext. 130

Text Only
  • Governor, state Legislature have misplaced priorities

    If the Oklahoma State Legislators and our Governor spent less time interfering in women’s rights to manage their bodies, creating ways to lay more taxes and fees on the middle class in order to generate more tax breaks which benefit only the wealthy while also conceiving methods with which to fill Oklahoma’s for-profit prisons, they would be doing all of us a favor. Instead, why not work to enhance funding for our schools and wage increases for all school employees? While reforming the state’s educational budget, why don’t they approve wage increases for our Oklahoma State Troopers and enlarge their Academy to insure qualified individuals are ready to fill the upcoming vacancies as many of the older force retire?

    April 9, 2014

  • Self government key to keeping politicians in check

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal campaign laws that limit the total amount of money donors can give to political parties, committees and candidates for federal office (U.S. House, Senate, and President) was unconstitutional. The ruling will not increase the current $2,600 limit on how much a donor can give to a federal candidate in each primary and general election or the $32,400 limit that can go to a national party committee. Those limits are still in place.  The ruling will instead remove the limit on how many candidates/committees to which a donor can contribute.

    April 9, 2014

  • Legislative goals crucial to priorities in education

    I am a member of several professional organizations where I attend regular meetings, network with colleagues, and stay abreast and informed on education best practices.  The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, better known as CCOSA, is a nonprofit organization that establishes close and continuous communication and cooperation between educators, taxpayers, and legislators to improve the effectiveness of professional school administrators and to communicate the needs of schools. Attendance this time of year is especially critical because legislators are in session.

    March 28, 2014

  • An impressive ranking that could be better

    That Duncan was named one of the best 15 communities in Oklahoma by Movoto, a national Real Estate company, is news worth celebrating.
    Of 43 places with population of 10,000 or more, as determined by the U.S. Census data, Duncan finished 15th. Norman was first, Edmond second, Yukon and Moore tied for third and Bethany was fifth.

    March 9, 2014

  • Kids shouldn’t have to pay for having punster parents

    Friends and neighbors, I’ve been cloistered in my Thought Chamber for the past few days, contemplating many high-brow philosophies and haughty hypothesis that we who think on a different level use to exercise our finely-tuned minds and remain intellectually superior to the Great Unwashed.
    As you see, the time alone has been intellectually beneficial. I just composed an opening sentence (what we in the journalism dodge call a “lead”) that’s 46 words long.

    March 9, 2014

  • The blissful serenity of No-TV Land

    Life without TV is possible. Maybe you should try it. I did. It’s a do-able thing, I tell you. I’m still here, no worse the wear, no oozing wounds, no serious loss of brainwave activity except for the slow, inexorable downhill decline that already started when TV viewing was a daily occurrence.

    Granted, two months without the tube is quite likely not a scientifically acceptable sample from which is to hold forth. But it’s the best I can do, so deal with it.

    March 9, 2014

  • Cooper’s message is to remain active

    Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the Dallas physician who coined the phrase “aerobics” more than four decades ago, who has become a world leader in physical fitness and who has saved, literally, thousands of lives by promoting the value of an active lifestyle, shared his philosophy of life here last week.

    March 9, 2014

  • Time to take the “B” out of the “Three R’s”

    Our young folks are hitting the stretch drive toward the end of another school year, during which they’ve been taught “Three R’s”, which are not really “r’s” at all.
    In case you missed it, reading is the only one of the “Three R’s” that actually begins with the letter “r.” Writing starts with a “w” and arithmetic begins with the letter “a.” There are two reasons we drop the “w” from “writing” and the “a” from “arithmetic”: 1. For poetic flow in the age-old saying; and, 2. many people have a secret yen to talk like the Beverly Hillbillies.

    February 23, 2014

  • Thank you for lettin’ me be myself again

    Friends and neighbors, hope I don’t sound like the biggest egomaniac since Donald Trump, but you know, I am the most interesting person I’ve ever known.
    Forgive me if — on first blush — that sounds like the most totally self-aggrandizing statement you’ve ever heard. And if you’ve headed to the restroom to express an editorial opinion about the statement above, I’ll stop for a couple minutes.

    February 15, 2014

  • Buzz misfired in Vanity Fair body slam of Duncan

    As the new kid in town, I’m reluctant to leap atop the ramparts to defend the honor of Duncan, Okla., my new adopted hometown.
    But to heck with that. When an out-of-towner comes into your house and soils your rug, it’s on.
    I speak, of course, about the article in Vanity Fair magazine about Duncan and the  killing last year of Chris Lane, the Australian who was gunned down in August.

    January 24, 2014