The photo brought back a memory of the time, when Cato asked his grandfather where he got that necklace. The grandfather had been in the Hogan singing a “give me something song,” he explained, and suddenly some strangers knocked on the door and presented him with the necklace. On hearing this, he was quiet for a while before asking, “Grandfather, could you teach me that song?”
I felt like someone had sung that song for LEAD Agency this week!
Last fall we began to look for the Lead Care II instrument and testing kits we felt would arrive any day. Dr. Robert O. Wright who we know for the MATCH Study is now at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and had donated it to LEAD Agency so we would be able to assist in helping residents know if they have a current exposure to lead.
The box came this week and the day it arrived, we called the Ottawa County Health Department to tell Keesha Bunch and Amanda Burnett the news and left a message for Dr. Shirley Chesnut at the Northeast Tribal Health System to let her know, too.
The Lead Care II instrument can use 2 drops of blood and in 3 minutes give a result.
It is nice to know, or perhaps not NICE, but important to know, if your test shows you have lead in your blood. That means for the general public, you are currently receiving an exposure to lead, and you can look around your environment, find the source and REMOVE it so you will not be exposed anymore. Knowing allows you to DO something about it, for yourself or for a child of your own.
Lead poisoning can affect the central nervous system, kidneys, and blood-forming organs. Lead exposure is associated with learning and behavior problems and even reduced income in adulthood.
The same day we opened that box, I got a call from Bob Gelso, a Miami High School woodshop instructor. He called to let us know he had made a set of cornhole regulation sized game boards for us to use as a means of entertainment, but also as a way to engage folks and have a chance to discuss the things that matter to us all: clean water, clean air and knowing which and how much FISH to eat.
The other thing that happened that day was also a gift. We really have nothing more important to give than our time and sharing with others what we know. Jim Shine who was one of the many Harvard researchers who spent so much time in Ottawa County during the years of the Children’s Center and our current intern,
Emerson Taylor who is a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas spent some their valuable time working through the process of planning a pilot project we want to do to understand more about what we are tracking in our back or front doors. It starts with the questions, how will we do it? What will be measured? The length of the project and how many units?
Not all news was good that day. I learned early in the morning Albert Kelly had resigned from his position at EPA in charge of Superfund. In his official position, he gave out his cell phone number to the environmental activists he met. I got the nerve and called and sure enough he answered the phone to listen to more perspectives on Tar Creek.
Mr. Kelly had been a banker who got banned from banking. And his friend Scott Pruitt, who seems to be dismantling EPA gave him the job at the agency. Mr. Kelly was receiving a lot of criticism in the media for his past but was working to regain face while head of Superfund, all while improving EPA's reputation in communities that had lost hope. He texted me a message late in the day and I guess it was a give me something comment for Tar Creek: "would like to be part of the solution" was what he wrote.
Hum a few bars of that song, stop by and lend a hand in the garden as we prepare it for the vegetables Frisbie’s will donate when the children are ready to plant, drop off some books for the Little Free Library or find one you were dying to read, then share it again. Your time and effort is more valuable than you know and every time you show up,
I can hear a bit of that song in the wind.