Issue No. 76
A not-for-profit ministry of
Church of the Brethren Benefit Trust Inc.
Church of the Brethren Insurance Services provides the following products: dental, vision, basic life and accidental death & dismemberment, supplemental life and AD&D, dependent life and AD&D, retiree life, long-term disability, short-term disability, and Medicare supplement
for eligible Church of the Brethren employees
Dental, vision, retiree life, and Medicare supplement coverage may also be available for eligible retired Church of the Brethren employees.
For eligibility information, call Connie Sandman at 800-746-1505, ext. 366, or contact your human resources representative.
Medical and ancillary plans (named above) may be available to Brethren-affiliated employer groups.
Long-Term Care Insurance is available for all members of the Church of the Brethren, their family and friends, and employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities.
1505 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120
(Contact First Name)
Each year since 2002, January has been proclaimed National Mentoring Month. The current presidential proclamation reads in part, "Mentors can instill a sense of infinite possibility in the hearts and minds of their mentees, demonstrating that with hard work and passion, nothing is beyond their potential." We are glad to join in this annual January effort to celebrate mentors by featuring a short essay on mentoring as well as stories of mentors.
It so happens that, according to
, January is also Winter Storm Preparation Month. We invite you not just to consider how to prepare for winter storms but also to think about winter itself and its mix of danger and beauty. And since we are focusing on winter storms, we give you as an added feature and to pique your curiosity, a list of 10 of the biggest winter storms in North America. As we at Brethren Insurance Services head into the New Year having already experienced a healthy dose of winter weather, we hope you enjoy these stories, tips, and anecdotes about preparing our attitudes and households for this season, no matter where winter finds you, or whether you embrace or dread the next couple of months.
Now that the holidays are behind us, it is time to look ahead to what 2017 will bring. We pray that you are blessed with good health, are making some exciting plans, and that you have many reasons to celebrate again by year's end. May your days be abundant with opportunities and gladness. Please accept our best wishes for a Happy New Year!
|The dangers and beauties of winter
Are you prepared for a winter storm? That question may almost seem like an insult to those of us who live in cold climates. Winter storms are routine. We don't really prepare for them. They happen and we get through them. Yes, as cold weather approaches, we do get out our winter clothes and we check the anti-freeze. We make sure the storm windows are in place. We put the scraper and snow brush in the car. With the first snowfall, our "driving-in-snow" reflexes begin to kick back in. Beyond that, we just take the storms in stride.
And for those of us who live in a warm climate, we see no reason to think about winter storms at all. We tout our warm breezes and our sunshine. We are even a little smug about swimming or playing golf in January. So either way, declaring January as Winter Storm Preparedness Month might seem like a silly exercise.
On the other hand, maybe not. Included in this newsletter is a list of great North American storms. Suppose one of these mega storms strikes -- don't you agree that some forethought might be useful? How often does a really big one hit? Probably several times in a life span. According to the list, there have been nine major storms in the past 75 years. And those of us who think we are safe in our warm climate, note that the 1993 "storm of the century" dropped a foot of snow on Alabama, and temperatures dropped below freezing in Daytona Beach, Florida. Think about 1899 when the port of New Orleans iced over.
Of course, these huge storms usually struck their hardest in the northeastern states, which were already in the grip of winter, but they were not routine winter storms. They were killers with record-setting snowfalls, bitter temperatures, high winds, massive drifts, and, along the coast, huge waves. These were storms where people benefited from preparation.
Included in this issue are checklists. Some items just make good sense -- things to do to get ready for cold, snowy conditions. Some are instructions to prepare you for a really brutal storm. Take a moment to look at the lists, which follow the article on Great storms of North America.
The implication behind Winter Storm Preparation Month is that winter can be dangerous. Many see it as bleak and dark -- a time when nature is merciless, when living things have died, gone dormant, migrated, or moved inside. J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, wrote, "October extinguished itself in a rush of howling winds and driving rain and November arrived, cold as frozen iron, with hard frosts every morning and icy drafts that bit at exposed hands and faces." (
The Order of the Phoenix.)
On the other hand, Thomas De Quincey, 19th-century English essayist wrote, "I put up a petition annually, for as much snow, hail, frost, or storm, of one kind or other, as the skies can possibly afford us. Surely everybody is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a winter fireside: candles at 4 o'clock, warm hearth-rugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies on the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without."
And what about those who love to be outside in the snow and wind -- the skiers, skaters, and snowboarders; the hunters, hikers, and even winter campers? Ernest Hemmingway said this about skiing: "Finally there was the great glacier run, smooth and straight, forever straight if your legs could hold it, your ankles locked, you running so low, leaning into the speed, dropping forever and forever in the silent hiss of the crisp powder. It was better than any flying or anything else ... "
Then there are those who wax philosophical and poetic about winter. Tom Allen wrote, "While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best." In Winter's Tale, Mark Helprin rhapsodized, "Winter then in its early and clear stages, was a purifying engine that ran unhindered over city and country, alerting the stars to sparkle violently and shower their silver light into the arms of bare upreaching trees."
It could be said of winter that where there is danger and crisis, there is also beauty and opportunity. So as you think about what you might do if the storm of the century strikes in all its power and terror, as you know it will if you live a typical lifetime, think also about the richness and beauty of winter. Think of a brisk winter morning when the cold has burned off the clouds and the sunlight sparkles on the fresh snow that crunches under your boots and the cold dry air chafes your cheeks red and fills you with energy. Take a deep breath and be glad you're alive.
Great storms of North America
The Blizzard of 1888
-- Northeast United States
This storm was so mammoth it was a historical event! It produced huge amounts of snow, bitter temperatures, and violent winds, whipping up monstrous drifts. It spread from New England to the Chesapeake Bay. More than 400 died, including more than 100 lost at sea. New York City received 22 inches, Saratoga Springs, N.Y., more than 58 inches, and 45 inches fell on New Haven, Conn. Drifts as high as 50 or 60 feet were reported on Long Island, with wind gusts of 80 mph.
The Storm of the Century, 1993 -- Eastern United States
This storm pushed up the East coast, dumping snow on a wider area than any other storm in recorded history. Massive snowfalls were recorded from eastern Canada to Alabama. Parts of 26 states were hit. Half the U.S. population felt its effect. 270 people died. Compared to the blizzard of 1888, it was not as severe and did not drop as much snow, but it covered a much larger area. There was a record low of minus 12 degrees in Burlington, Vt. Even Daytona Beach, Fla. dropped below freezing to 31 degrees. In the South, Birmingham, Ala., struggled under a foot of snow, and even Atlanta had four inches. Areas in the Catskills and the Appalachians got as much as 50 inches. Wind speeds reached 100 mph in some places. Meteorologists say the storm was the equivalent of a Category 3 hurricane.
The Great Blizzard of 1899 -- Eastern half of United States
This storm shut down the Eastern Seaboard from Florida to Maine and stretched as far west as New Orleans, whose port was iced over. Ice floes floated down the Mississippi and out into the Gulf of Mexico. With a Feb. 14 temperature of 7 degrees, it was the coldest Mardi Gras ever. New Jersey received a record 34 inches of snow in a single day. The coldest day in Florida's history was recorded when Tallahassee in northern Florida hit a low of 2 degrees below zero. Record lows were registered all up and down the region. Cuba even reported a hard frost. Washington, D.C., struggled under 20.5 inches of snow. New York City received 16 inches, and other areas of New England got up to three feet.
Blizzard of 2006 -- New York City
This was not really a blizzard. It covered only a small area. It did not have high winds. But the storm is memorable because it clobbered one place - New York City - with a record 26.9 inches of snow, the greatest snowfall in New York City history.
The White Hurricane of 1913 -- Great Lakes basin, Midwestern United States and Ontario, Canada
This was the deadliest natural disaster to hit the Great Lakes region, with hurricane-force winds and waves on the lakes reaching 35 feet. It overturned ships on four of the Great Lakes, destroying 19 and stranding 19 more. It boasted a constant wind speed of 60 mph for 12 hours, with gusts up to 90 mph and whiteout snowsqualls. More than 250 people died.
Mt. Shasta, 1959 -- Mt. Shasta, California
A storm dropped 189 inches of snow on Mt. Shasta, the largest snowfall from a single storm in North America. Yet the storm did not have much effect on the locals. They were used to big storms. There were some delays, which they took in stride. Much of the snow fell away from the populated areas. Not very many people knew the storm had broken the record.
The Children's Blizzard of 1888 -- Dakotas and Nebraska
After snow and low temperatures there was a sudden warming trend. Then on January 12, an immense cold front caused temperatures to drop to minus 20 degrees, even as low as minus 40 in some places. This was accompanied by high winds and heavy snow. People had ventured out into the milder weather, going to work and school, and doing chores and were unprepared for the abrupt change. The storm struck during school hours, and children were sent home from school by their teachers. People ended up being caught in the blizzard, and 235 people, including many children, perished.
Blizzard of 1978 -- New England and Northeastern United States
A catastrophic, historic nor'easter (strong storm blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean) stalled over New England for a day, dropping as much as 4 inches per hour. It stretched to New York City and New Jersey, with snowfalls as much as 3 feet. Boston got a record 27.1 inches, Providence, R.I., a record 27.6 inches, and Atlantic City an all-time high accum
ulation of 20.1 inches. Wind speeds of 86 mph, with gusts up to 111 mph, caused severe drifting and low visibility. Snow fell for an unprecedented 33 hours. In some places it turned to an icy mix at night leaving a heavy, solid layer of ice on external surfaces, bringing down trees and power lines. The storm struck during high tide, leading to the most severe coastal flooding ever in the region. And it came in the afternoon when people were at work and school and thus stranded thousands. More than 100 people died.
Great Snow of 1717 -- New England
Late February and early March
Four storms struck in quick succession in late February and early March. Recordkeeping was limited, so no one knows how widespread the effects were. It was a bad winter, and some places already had 5 feet of snow on the ground. Drifts reached 25 feet, burying houses, forcing people to exit from second-story windows. Limited to basic shovels for snow-removal, roads remained blocked until the snow began to melt. Travel between Boston and New York City was impossible.
The Buffalo Blizzard of 1977 -- Buffalo, New York
After an already cold and snowy winter, this storm brought a modest amount of snow, but vicious winds averaging 45 mph with 75-mph gusts. The winds picked up the snow that covered the frozen Lake Erie and whipped up drifts, made for zero visibility, and blocked roads. The storm brought intense cold, causing the temperature to drop 20 degrees in a few hours. There were 29 deaths. The year 1977 still holds the Buffalo record for most snow in one season - 199.4 inches.
The Knickerbocker Storm of 1922 -- Washington, D.C.
There was so much snow and it was so wet and heavy that it collapsed the roof of the Knickerbocker Theater in Washington, D.C., killing 98 people and injuring another 133. The storm dropped about 3 feet of snow on the D.C. area.
The Super Bowl Blizzard of 1975 -- Central and Southeast United States
This storm -- which fell on Super Bowl weekend -- began with a series of tornadoes in the Southeast, and headed to the upper Midwest, killing more than 100,000 farm animals. The tornadoes (45 in all) began on January 9 and persisted for two days, killing 12 people and injuring 377. As the storm swept into the Midwest, snow and wind killed 58 people.
Snowmageddon of 2010
-- Mid-Atlantic states
Two storms broke snowfall records in the Mid-Atlantic states and left 32.4 inches of snow in Washington, D.C. By the end of the second storm, almost 70 percent of the country was snow-covered.
Blizzard of 1967 -- U.S. Midwest
This storm hit Chicago and spread as far as Kalamazoo, Mich. Chicago set a record for snowfall in a 24-hour period - 23 inches. 76 died, 29 in Chicago alone.
Eastern Canadian Blizzard of 1971 -- Quebec and Ontario, Canada
This nor'easter dumped a foot and a half of snow on Montreal and more than 2 feet everywhere else in the area. Then there were heavy winds that filled the air with blowing snow and made visibility nil. The Canadians took the storm in stride, though it caused a one-of-a-kind event. For the first time since the flu epidemic of 1918, the Montreal Canadiens postponed a hockey game.
|Winter storm readiness checklists
Prepare your car
- Check basic equipment: heater, defroster, hazard lights.
- Be sure you have good tires, all-weather at least, snow tires if necessary, with plenty of tread, and inflated properly.
- Check your antifreeze.
- Be sure you have a good battery and that your ignition system is working well.
- Be sure your brakes are in good order with plenty of fluid and good pads.
- Check the exhaust system to be sure fumes do not leak into the passenger space.
- Check your fuel filter and air filter.
- Be sure your thermostat is working properly.
- Use the proper oil for cold weather.
- Check your windshield wipers and replace them if necessary.
- Keep plenty of windshield washer fluid in the reservoir and have an extra bottle available.
- Carry a shovel in your trunk.
- Keep a scraper for ice and a small broom for brushing off large amounts of snow.
- Keep emergency flares and an emergency flashlight with spare batteries.
- Keep an extra pair of gloves in your glove compartment.
- Keep the fuel level in your gas tank high to help prevent the fuel line from freezing.
- Do not drive unless necessary in sleet, freezing rain, steady snowfall, drifting snow, or dense fog.
- Keep a tow chain or rope in your trunk.
- Put jumper cables in your trunk.
- Keep a bag of sand for ballast and to spread for traction.
If you are expecting a blizzard and have to drive your car in it
- Keep blankets in the car.
- Have a bottle of water.
- Make sure your phone is fully charged.
- Keep a battery-powered radio in your car with extra batteries.
- Keep an emergency kit in your car that should include (in addition to all the above items) snack food, matches, extra hat, socks, gloves, first-aid kit, pocket knife, aspirin, tylenol, ibuprofen, fluorescent distress flag.
If you are stranded in your car in the snow
- Put out a flare and a fluorescent distress flag.
- Only leave your car if you can see a warm, safe place close by; otherwise, stay in your car until you are rescued.
- Don't leave your car if visibility is bad, especially if you have inadequate clothing.
- Run the car's engine for ten minutes each hour, enough to get some warmth from the heater, but not so much as to use up your fuel.
- Make sure your exhaust pipe is not clogged with snow.
- Keep a window cracked slightly while running the engine.
- When the storm has ended, listen to the radio for instructions on what route to follow.
Prepare your house for winter and especially for a big storm
- Make sure it's fully insulated.
- Install storm windows or all-weather windows if you don't already have them.
- Check and service your furnace/heating unit.
- Be sure your roof is strong enough to sustain heavy snow accumulation.
- Clear your rain gutters.
- Know how to turn the water off in case of a pipe break.
- Wrap pipes that are near cold areas, such as on an outside wall.
- Let the faucets drip slowly to prevent freezing in pipes and keep kitchen and bathroom cabinets open to allow warm air to circulate.
- If you use a space heater, watch it carefully. Don't let electric heaters overheat and don't let something flammable get too close. If your heater burns fuel, be sure it's vented to the outside and keep it away from anything flammable.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Stock rock salt or a more environmentally safe product to melt ice.
- Be sure you have shovels and other snow removal equipment.
- Stock up on enough heating fuel to outlast a lengthy time of being snowbound.
- Keep extra water, canned goods, and blankets.
- Have candles and plenty of flashlights and batteries in case of power failure.
- Have good, warm winter clothing.
- Keep sanitation supplies, on hand: hand sanitizer, moist towelettes, tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, diapers, and other sanitary products according to your needs.
- Make sure you have a plan for family communication in case you are separated by a storm.
- Be sure your pets have what they need.
- If you are away from your home during extreme cold, do not set the thermostat below 55 degrees.
- Shovel frequently to avoid snow buildup.
For a really big storm -- stock the following:
- Three-day supply of water
- Three-day supply of easy-to-prepare, non-perishable food: canned goods, powdered food, rice, pasta
- Manual can opener
- Camp stove for cooking (properly vented)
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- Extra batteries
- First-aid kit
- Seven-day supply of medications
- Box of tools
- Cellphone, computer, tablet, etc. with batteries fully charged
- Family and emergency contact info
- Baby supplies, if needed
- Pet supplies, if needed
- Plenty of warm clothing
- Alternative heating sources, such as an electric heater or a fuel-burning heater if electricity goes out
- If your home loses power or heat for an extended period of time, you may have to go to a shelter.
- If the heat is off, you don't have an alternative source, and you cannot leave your house, stay in bed under as many covers as possible and cuddle up with another person.
- Keep the fridge closed. Put frozen items outside where nature will keep them frozen.
- Check weather reports regularly on radio, TV, and cellphone app.
- Wear layers of clothing. If you are active outside, don't work up a sweat.
- Be sure to have really warm gloves.
- Wear waterproofed, insulated boots, with good treads.
- Pace yourself when shoveling snow or doing other strenuous jobs.
- Protect yourself against frostbite and hypothermia.
- Pay attention to family members, neighbors, and children who may be more vulnerable to the cold and may need special help.
Mentoring, a gift of goodness
When the ancient Greek hero Odysseus went off to the Trojan wars, he left the care and education of his young son Telemachus in the hands of an old man named Mentor. It was Mentor's task to shape the boy's character and develop wisdom and steady purpose
Odysseus was gone for 20 years. As Telemachus grew to adulthood, he set off to find his father, and Mentor went with him. His "mentoring" role was enhanced by the reality that from time to time Athena, the greatest of the Greek goddesses and the goddess of wisdom, took on Mentor's form, especially when Telemachus' way was dark and difficult.
And so, Mentor was with Telemachus as he left home, as he underwent many trials, as he did the things young people must do to become an adult, until he could return home, find his father, and fight side by side with him to rescue his mother and restore his homeland. Mentor guided this transition from adolescence to manhood.
It is this myth that gives us the word "mentor" and shows us the reality of "mentoring." We find many of its fundamental characteristics in the story.
A mentor establishes a deep connection with the mentee, not just as a role model, which can be done from afar, but up close as an essential part of the young one's life and development.
Mentoring is a vital and dynamic relationship in which the mentor shares freely of his or her experience and knowledge, but more than that, looks into the soul of the mentee and sees his or her basic strengths and inclinations, encourages them, and helps the mentee give them expression. It can be a transforming relationship, touching what is deepest and best in mentor and mentee.
And what the mentor gives, as when Athena took the form of Mentor, has a touch of the divine. It is a gift of goodness. But just as Mentor went with Telemachus on his quest, a mentor must be willing to go through the pain, struggle and disappointments of the journey.
Many examples can be found in history - Socrates and Plato, Paul and Timothy, Freud and Jung, Haydn and Beethoven, Benjamin Mays and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey. Any discussion of mentoring and its history is greatly enhanced by the telling of stories.
More than a foster mother
Christal, a mother and grandmother, takes in foster children, but she provides more than a foster home. "The way I look at it," she says, "is that everyone who was in my house was meant to be here." She goes on to say of each child, "If they can take just one thing with them that I taught them, then I did what I was supposed to do." John, one of the foster kids, has said, "She takes care of us like her own. I know kids from other foster homes, and it's not the same where they live. Miss Christal does this from the kindness of her heart. She taught me the importance of responsibility and now I enjoy cleaning my room and being more independent." Christal is known throughout her community. According to the coordinator of the mentoring program, "She doesn't just bring kids into her home; she brings them into the community." This mentor connects deeply with her mentees, giving them hope and a guiding light.
Even saints have mentors
Mother Teresa committed her life to helping others and was recognized as one of the most admirable people of the 20th century, operating orphanages, AIDS hospices, and other charities worldwide. She led a remarkable and revered life but may not have achieved all that if it weren't for her mentor, Father Michael van der Peet. The two met while waiting for a bus in Rome and quickly developed a close friendship. They spoke regularly and confided in each other over the years.
American business magnate Warren Buffett is often considered the most successful investor of the 20th century. The Berkshire Hathaway CEO mentored Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Gates first met Buffett at a dinner organized by Gates' mother, where the two spoke about business and philanthropy. Gates admits that over the years he has turned to Buffett for advice on various subjects, and has often referred to Buffett as "one of a kind."
And gifted public personalities
Best known for her talk show, "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Oprah Winfrey was mentored by celebrated author and poet, the late Maya Angelou. "She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life," Winfrey said. "Mentors are important and I don't think anybody makes it in the world without some form of mentorship."
Mentoring even by video online
Valerie Vargas, a teenager in California, had a mentor far away in Texas through a program called "We Teach Science." She was shy. She didn't know what to say to her mentor, Angelina Carter, but this reticence and the miles between them didn't stop them from developing a bond. It was the use of video and the subject of math that brought them together. Angelina's mentoring helped Valerie gain confidence and bring up her math grade. Eventually Angelina was able to travel to California to meet Valeria in person.
A classic story from baseball
Baseball aficionadas may remember Bill Dickey, the great catcher for the New York Yankees in the 1930s and 1940s. As he neared the end of his career, a young catcher named Yogi Berra was brought up to be groomed as Dickey's successor. Dickey gave Berra constant coaching, sometimes off in a private space. One day a reporter asked Berra what Dickey was saying to him in those tête-a-têtes. Yogi answered, "Bill's learnin' me his experience."
Berra would go on to become another Yankee great and to be known for many more pithy sayings. But there is maybe no better way than Yogi's of characterizing the importance of a mentor. So in this National Mentoring Month, may all of us be grateful for those people in our lives who have "learned us their experience," and may we in turn give the same gift to someone else.
We hope you are enjoying our new addition to
-- monthly BRAIN PUZZLES -- just for fun!
WINTER BREAK PUZZLE
Over Winter Break, five best friends each did different activities in different cities. Can you find out each friend's full name, what they did, and where they went?
First names: Julie, Megan, David, Fred, Sam
Last names: Wallace, Thompson, Mallard, Shields, Drake
Activities: Ski Trip, Moving, Cruise, Cooking Classes, Visiting Relatives
Places: Houston, Paris, Cleveland, Vancouver, Miami
1) Julie and Ms. Wallace, in particular, were sad that David wasn't coming back.
2) Neither Sam nor Julie have ever left the U.S. before this winter break.
3) All first names that have two syllables belong with last names that have two syllables. Nobody's last name starts with the same letter as their first name.
4) Ms. Mallard is excited to learn about French cuisine.
5) Mr. Thompson doesn't want to move.
6) The friends, in no particular order, are as follows: the girl who is going on a ski trip, Mr. Shields, Megan, the boy headed to Houston, and Julie.
7) Cruises can only be taken in warm coastal cities. Ski trips can only be taken in cold, mountainous places. Remember this is winter.
8) The cruise ship Fred is traveling on does not dock in Houston.
| Long-Term Care Insurance
Brethren Insurance Services offers Long-Term Care Insurance
Eligibility for long-term care insurance benefits is determined by the inability to meet at least two of these six activities of daily living -- bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, continence, or transferring. Cognitive impairment can also trigger benefits.
It's difficult to think about the fact that a debilitating condition or a disabling injury might leave you unable to care for yourself, or that when you reach your twilight years, the time will come when you will need some extra care. Long-term care insurance makes sure that you will get the care you need. It assures that the cost of your custodial care will not eat up your savings. Finally, and this is one of the best things about LTCI, it can help protect your children and other relatives from having to use their resources to care for you.
Brethren Insurance Services offers Long-Term Care Insurance for all members and employees of the Church of the Brethren and their family and friends; and also for employees of Church of the Brethren-affiliated agencies, organizations, colleges, and retirement communities and their families and friends.
If you are interested in obtaining this coverage, contact Brethren Insurance Services at
or 800-746-1505 for a free, no-obligation proposal or
to request more information.