- Special Sections
By BOB SHRALUKA
That a storm which ripped through here on June 29 caused widespread damage is well-known. What isn't known but to only a few people is the tale of the "storm" which hit the communications center in the county jail that day, due to the storm outside.
The comm center received 915 calls via the 911 lines. No, that's not a typo: 915 calls. Nine hundred and fifteen.
"And the bulk of them were in the first two hours or so after the storm hit," Sheriff Shane Rekeweg said. "Normally, we probably average 45 or so 911 calls a day.
So they got their average and another 870 calls in a relatively short time on that stormy day. Wow!
"We were getting call dumps from Wells and Jay counties and they were getting some of ours," the sheriff explained. "When you make a 911 call and you don't get an answer, the call rolls over to another county, the theory being that if you call 911, someone is going to answer."
That Friday afternoon was one of those days when everyone available chipped in.
"Tom (Krueckeberg) and Lynn (Rickord) helped out; Tom was making a list for I&M," Rekeweg said. "Mary Ann (August), Chris Burkhart and myself were downstairs (taking calls). John (August, Emergency Management Agency director) came in and helped compile a list.
"There were six of us. It really helped that we (recently) filled that third position (thanks to a room renovation) and had the extra help."
Rekeweg, a veteran deputy before taking being elected sheriff, said it was the most 911 calls he had ever experienced in such a short time.
"I think I've seen it reasonably close, but that's probably the most I've ever seen," he explained. "The dispatchers said it was probably the most they had seen. We get a spike like that when there's a storm, but this surely was the most."
Part of the reason for the unusually high number of 911 calls, he theorized, was the fact that the storm took so many people by surprise and packed so much fury.
"It was like the storm got to Adams County and just exploded," Rekeweg said.
That it did. On the inside, too!
No place like home
A man well known by people of Social Security age returned the other day to his native Portland.
Darrell "Pete" Brewster, who had a great career in the National Football League, returned home for a ceremony in which the East Jay Middle School — the former Portland High School where Brewster was an outstanding athlete — field was renamed Darrell "Pete" Brewster Field.
A marker showing that name will be placed at the northwest corner of the field.
A report in the Portland Commercial-Review said Brewster couldn't hold back his emotions as he told a crowd of some 100 people, "This is truly one of the great moments of my life."
Brewster, a 1948 graduate of Portland High who now lives in Peculiar, Mo., will turn 82 on September 1. He went to Purdue on a basketball scholarship and also played varsity football. And it was in football where he made his professional mark.
Drafted in the second round by the Cleveland Browns, 21st overall, he went on to a great career, earning Pro Bowl honors in 1955 and 1956 as a tight end. Following seven seasons and two NFL championships with the Browns, the 6-3 Brewster played his final two seasons with the Steelers. He later became a receivers coach with Kansas City and Minnesota, winning a Super Bowl IV with the latter.
At Portland, Brewster probably was better known for his basketball abilities. He was one of the "Three Bs" who got the Panthers to the one-class Semistate in 1946 and 1948.
The other two "B's," John Bright and Dick Bond, attended the recent ceremony.
Must have been some reunion.