Winter storms kill four, leave 350,000 powerless in Midwest

| 12/4/2006

Frigid temperatures contributed to four deaths in the Midwest on Sunday, Dec. 3, as 350,000 customers remained without power in Missouri and Illinois.

The same heavy snows that knocked down power lines also made travel treacherous. On Friday, Dec. 1, packed snow and ice on Interstate 70 west of Columbia, MO, led to a 15-mile traffic jam in the eastbound lanes that didn't clear up for most of the day.

John Roberts, an OOIDA member from Statesboro, GA, called into "Land Line Now" on XM Satellite Radio while he was stuck in the traffic jam. He said he witnessed a young Marine Corps staff sergeant who was checking on the welfare of people in their cars and trucks and passing out food and water.

"There's a guy out here . that should get every rose Land Line has ever published," Roberts said. "He's out here walking up and down between these trucks, handing out MREs and water to people who need it."

That Marine - 25-year-old Jared Losh of Poplar Bluff, MO - said he was returning to his recruiting office in Columbia when he got stuck in the traffic jam. Luckily, he'd loaded his 16-passenger van with lots of Meals Ready to Eat and bottled water just in case he got stuck in the snow with a load of recruits.

"I was thinking in my mind, going back to my boot camp training, that some of these people probably needed help," Losh said. "I saw one of these truck drivers, and he asked me if I needed any help. I knew they had the CBs on there . That really helped out a lot."

So the truckers did their part, locating people in need and notifying Losh. And the young Marine did his part - and then some.

- By Reed Black, staff writer