Our Voice: Thumbs up to the camper who saved a stranger's life

May 26, 2014 

McKee Tucanon Crash

The heavily damaged Toyota 4Runner driven by Tanner McKee, 16, that went off a mountain road Saturday near the Tucannon Campground in Columbia County.

COURTESY MATT MCKEE

To Thorin Purviance for keeping 15-year-old Marshall McKee alive after a serious accident near Dayton.

From the pictures of the smashed vehicle, we understand why Purviance anticipated he would find a body rather than a boy. And when he first got to the scene, he thought McKee was dead. No doubt he was close to it.

But Purviance was able to call responders for help, comfort the young man and keep him breathing, despite the boy's punctured lungs and broken ribs.

Purviance was camping when some boys stumbled into his camp begging for help.

Nobody knows what they would do in a situation like that until it happens, but Purviance did the right things. He called for medical help; he stayed calm, and he reassured McKee.

He saved that boy's life.

Parents' project

To people who make things happen.

A news package in the Tri-City Herald (May 18), highlighted the lack of low-income housing in the Mid-Columbia. The next day was the grand opening for Kennewick Perry Suites, a 14-unit complex of housing for adults with disabilities.

Several years ago, two women were discussing their daughters' futures. Knowing the housing options were limited, they formed a plan. Then they formed an organization and a project.

That project was paid for with money from federal, state and local agencies.

This exact feat would be difficult to replicate. The largest chunk of funding, $1.8 million, came by way of a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They aren't approving any projects like this now and haven't for two years.

It's impressive what motivated people can accomplish.

Flashing yellow arrows

To the grumbling about new things.

We're not traffic engineers. And we will admit that all the roundabouts springing up are easier to navigate now that we've had practice. But we were not excited about roundabouts.

Our initial lack of enthusiasm has been replaced with confidence. We remember the long lines of traffic coming from Hanford and taking the exit to Columbia Park Trail, before the Steptoe roundabout was installed there.

That truly is a smoother and safer transition now.

When Pasco voted this week to replace all of its stoplights with ones that include flashing yellow arrows that are prominent in Kennewick, we had that same initial reaction.

Boo. Hiss.

And although we still have trouble seeing a huge advantage of a flashing yellow arrow over a circular green light (don't they both mean you can turn left when it's safe?), engineers and traffic safety studies tell us they are safer.

We're willing to concede that we've gotten used to them in Kennewick and they may well be like the roundabouts.

Since the whole county is moving toward these flashing yellow arrow signals, there will be a unified recognition for them, which is probably where the biggest problem lies.

We would like to see a concerted driver education campaign as they roll out.

In Kennewick it seems like the new lights just started showing up and there were a lot a crunched fenders and broken glass while people were adjusting to them.

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