The world is getting smaller all the time. And it doesn’t take very long to connect the dots between something that happens in one spot on the planet to another spot.
Case in point: Monday’s horrific Boston Marathon bombing, which — as of The Citizen’s Tuesday deadline — had killed three people and injured nearly 200 more, many critically.
Approximately 26,000 runners from around the world took part in the annual event. So, when reports of the bombing begin to surface Monday, there were likely tens of thousands of family members and friends of the runners around the globe who shared a common bond: fear for their loved ones’ safety.
That bond spread to the Platte City area Monday, where one local couple went from casually following the Marathon to a frantic attempt to contact one of their children who ran in the race.
Bud McMillian — a Platte City man whom I have known since kindergarten — said he and his wife, Mary, were watching the Marathon on television to see if they could spot their daughter, 26-year-old Kristin Wolkey, of Kansas City, who was running in the race.
McMillian said after a while he quit watching the race and tended to some work projects. He said he then got a call from his nephew, Spencer McMillian, who asked if Kristin was OK.
“That’s when we found out (about the bombing),” Bud McMillian said. “We were kind of freaking out because we couldn’t get ahold of her for a while.”
Bud McMillian said they were eventually able to fight through jammed Boston-area phone lines and make contact with Kristin, who said she was shaken but OK, Monday afternoon.
“She said she had finished the race about an hour before the explosions,” he said. “And she said she was about 100 feet or so away from the explosions. She said it scared the (heck) out of her and she is never going back.”
McMillian said he talked to Kristin again Tuesday morning and said she was scheduled to catch a flight home that evening.
“She said she and a couple of friends of hers who went to watch her had to walk about five miles to get to their hotel, but they were OK and ready to come home,” he said. “It’s just crazy. People train and reach a goal like running in the Boston Marathon and something like this happens. We’re just fortunate she’s OK. A lot of people aren’t.”
COCKRILL FAMILY INCLUDED IN PATROL SAFETY VIDEO
It’s been more than two and one-half years since 22-year-old Abby Cockrill, of Platte City, was killed by a drunk driver in a terrible car crash on Interstate 29.
Pat Cockrill, Abby’s father, said not a day goes by when he doesn’t think about her.
“It will be three years in August and I cry or get teary-eyed thinking about her each and every day,” he said. “That emotion is never more than a half-inch below the surface at all times.”
Given that emotion and the pain that sometimes lessens but never goes away, Cockrill said he and his wife, Diana, were hesitant when they were approached last year by the Missouri Highway Patrol about appearing in a traffic safety video the Patrol was filming.
“At first we didn’t want to do it, but then we talked about it,” he said. “I told Diana that if we can keep one mom or dad or sister or grandparent from feeling the way we do, we have to do it.”
So, the Cockrills welcomed a film crew into their Platte City-area home last summer for filming of the video. The end result is a 15-minute video entitled “Gone Too Soon,” which uses photographs, music and testimonials from traffic crash victims to illustrate the dangers of risky behavior behind the wheel such as drinking and driving, failure to use seatbelts, texting and speeding.
The Patrol plans a special media viewing of the video at 1 p.m. Thursday (April 18) at its Troop A headquarters in Lee’s Summit. The Cockrills and Megan Wagoner, Abby’s friend who was a passenger in Abby’s car and was injured in the wreck, plan to attend the event.
“It was very emotional, but they did a very good job on the video,” Pat Cockrill said. “It gets the point across and it’s a message everyone should hear.”
The video will also be shown at the Arrive Alive safe driving event planned for April 24 at Platte County High School in Platte City.
The event is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will include numerous demonstrations and vendors to illustrate the dangers of distracted driving. Participating agencies include the Platte County Health Department, Missouri Department of Transportation, Platte County Sheriff’s Department, Platte City Police Department and the Missouri Highway Patrol.
For decades, one business after another — primarily restaurants, and the failed Shoppes at Northgate retail development — has come and gone at a commercial location at the northwest corner of the Main Street/Interstate 29 intersection in Platte City.
City officials hope that may be changing with news that the 1.6 acre strip across the street from KC Bobcat and next to Travelodge is in the process of being acquired by Chad Shoemaker, owner of Platte City-based Absolute Crane, LLC. Absolute Crane rents large industrial-use cranes and their operators.
Platte City City Administrator DJ Gehrt said the business conforms to the Commercial-2 zoning at the site and would be a welcome addition to the City’s eastern entrance.
Shoemaker confirmed by phone Tuesday that he plans to move his business into the location.
“This isn’t the absolute ideal location, but I think it’s a good investment and it would be nice to clean up that area,” he said.
Gehrt said the project could factor in down the road with an anticipated development in the area east of I-29. Stay tuned.
Thanks for reading.
Lee Stubbs is owner/editor of The Citizen. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 858-5154. Follow him on Twitter @leejstubbs.