October 13, 2013

FRIEND: A time for the harvest

Bill Friend
Guest columnist

---- — Summer 2013 has come and gone. The growing season for crops has been almost opposite the previous year. Corn prospects are very good, and soybeans look promising as well. Farmers are always happy to have a bountiful yield, even if the market prices have slipped a bit. Fairs and festivals are behind us for another year, and I think most would say it was a successful season.

Autumn is now upon us, harvest has begun, and the September weather was beautiful. Let’s make it a safe harvest for everyone. Long days and good yields make for a lot of hauling, so trucks, wagons and slow-moving equipment will be on the roads. Please be aware and respond appropriately when you are behind a combine or tractor. You could save a life.

On Sept. 14, I was honored to participate in a scholarship presentation at the Fort Wayne Coliseum. The General Motors Foundation has a nationwide scholarship program for high school seniors as well as monetary presentations for local charities and civic organizations. I was pleased to be part of the major presentation honoring James Marshall Gaddy, a Peru High School graduate. He was the only student from Indiana to receive the $25,000 per year grant to attend Purdue University. He can use the grant each of his four years.

This is a great honor that recognizes the record and achievements of an exceptional young man. My remarks, of course, congratulated Marshall, but I also thanked GM for recognizing and rewarding distinguished students. This program provides an incentive to all students to excel and strive to receive such recognition! My best wishes to Mr. Gaddy as he studies engineering at Purdue.

Sept. 26 was the grand opening and ribbon cutting for Baldwin Painting at Grissom Air Force Base. This is a great opportunity for Miami County because it brings many new jobs to our area.

Airliners need to be repainted every seven to eigth years, so a facility that can accommodate four large aircraft at a time and some smaller ones as well is very unusual. Hangar 200, after its expansion, can do just that. The stripping of old paint, preparing the plane’s surfaces and applying new paint requires many skilled positions. I trust we will provide the workforce necessary to make Baldwin very successful.

The autumnal equinox found me indisposed. On Sept. 17, I had two red spots on my forehead. The spots continued to spread across the left side of my forehead until we suspected that I had developed a case of shingles. The lesions increased; my left eye swelled shut; and I was totally out of action. Dr. Quin, my family doctor, prescribed an anti-viral medication, and we used natural medicines as well. Dr. Wild, my ophthalmologist, said they were in my left eye, too. This meant more meds and eye drops. Thankfully, my health is returning. The condition is subsiding, and I look and feel more normal. This, too, shall pass.

My reason for telling you this is that many people have told me about friends and family that have had miserable experiences with this disease. Anyone who had chicken pox as a child carries the virus. As we age, the possibility that we contract shingles becomes more real. My case has been nearly three weeks. Hopefully, it is about over, but I have heard stories of cases lasting 18 months or more. The visible results of shingles may decrease, but the nerve pain and burning can continue for a long time.

Fatigue and stress are the major cause of shingles. If you are “of the age,” consider the vaccination that is available. I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone.

I am eager to be out and about again. Slowly but surely I’m regaining my strength, and I’m staying optimistic. Stay in touch, it is your state government!

Bill Friend, is a Republican representing District 23 in the Indiana House of Representatives. You can reach him at 317-232-9831.