Boy Scouts Honor Whitesboro Hero Charlie Baum
“Life is good. I do not harbor any animosity for the things that happened to me. Would I do it all again? Yes, I sure would. We’re the luckiest people on earth. You’ve got to go through something to appreciate it.” ~~ Charlie Baum
These words seem surprising coming from the man that enlisted voluntarily in the Army Air Corps, endured the 100 mile Bataan Death March, survived forty-two months as a prisoner of war, and weighed eighty-six pounds when he was freed. Whitesboro native Charles Baum, World War II veteran, was the epitome of honor, courage, valor, and fortitude. Lest the sacrifice of this hero be forgotten, a local Boy Scout is on a mission to create a lasting memorial to Mr. Baum.
More than sixty years ago, Charlie Baum found his world turned upside down because of events in a place most Americans had never heard of, a rocky peninsula on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, which separates the South China Sea from Manila Bay. It is called Bataan.
Charles Edison Baum was born on July 19, 1917, in Whitesboro to George Campbell Baum Sr. and Callie White Baum. He is a great grandson of Captain Ambrose B. White, who founded Whitesboro in 1848. He was the youngest of three boys. G. C., Jr., and Al Baum were his older brothers. He also had a half-sister, Nettie Baum Ashley.
Police Chief Scott Taylor has announced the acquisition of in-car computers for Whitesboro's seven police vehicles. The computers were made possible through the Oliver Dewey Mayor Foundation Challenge Grant.
"A challenge grant is where the supporting entity, such as the Oliver Dewey Mayor Foundation challenges the grant seeker to come up with a certain amount of money for the stated request, and then they will provide the remainder of the funds," explained Taylor.
In the case of the police computers, the amount of $15,000 had to be met. Taylor was able to meet this amount from previously budgeted moneys for the police department. The City then approved this request and authorized the use of the money for the grant request. The Oliver Dewey Mayor Foundation program provided an additional $20,000 to meet the challenge.
The installation of computers in police cars allows an officer to stay in the field and do his/her reports instead of being inside the police station seated at a desk and doing reports.
"It is a huge time saver, and gives the police officer a distinct time advantage," the local chief said.
An arrest in the field necessitates a book-in paper work process. The computers will allow a better use of time while waiting on the scene. The computers have internet hook-up to the Grayson County Sheriff's Office and other entities which will help to expedite the identification process of certain subjects. A categorized listing of stolen property items is available for search and comparison procedures, as well as a data base of drivers' license and car tags.
Instant messaging is also possible with dispatch which will cut down on time and free up the dispatcher if he/she is busy with a fire or medical call.
"Since we operate with one dispatcher," Taylor said, "if dispatch is busy now, we are able to run our own traffic inquiries."
As of July 1, all seven WPD vehicles have been installed and are equipped with the in-car computers.
"This is a use of technology as a deterrent to crime," Taylor said. "If a business has an internet based camera, this system allows us to pull up their camera system with an alarm call."
Additional benefits Taylor enumerated include current information at the officers' fingertips, enhancement of credibility of the department with current statistics, gaining an edge on crime fighting, and real-time information with instant messaging and updates.
"This growing technology is extremely beneficial to the Whitesboro Police Department," Taylor said, "and we could not have done this without the Oliver Dewey Mayor Foundation Grant, and we are deeply grateful."
The Texoma Council of Governments 911 Public Safety Telecommunicator Awards Banquet was held Thursday, April 15, at the Denison Country Club.
Vicki Sprinkle, dispatcher for the Whitesboro Police Department, was honored for her outstanding service by being named Telecommunicator of the Year. Sprinkle was selected for this prestigious award in large part as the result of a four-hour stretch of events which occurred during her regular shift at work in April of 2009.
Sprinkle began her shift as the only dispatcher on duty at WPD at 3 p.m. the afternoon of April 29, 2009. The day was rainy and stormy. Nine minutes into her shift, she received a call reporting that a woman was trapped in her vehicle with water rising in the Gordonville fire district. (We will refer to this as the "Gordonville Call"). She dispatched the Gordonville and Whitesboro Fire Departments and Texas Vital Care EMS to respond to this situation.
At 3:27, Sprinkle received a call reporting a head-on collision involving two vehicles inside the Whitesboro city limits. (We will refer to this as the "Head-On Collision"). She dispatched a Whitesboro police officer and the fire departments from Whitesboro, Collinsville and Sadler, as well as Texas Vital Care EMS. In so doing, she had to pull the Whitesboro Fire Department off the "Gordonville Call", so she had to call the Sherwood Shores Fire Department to go provide backup in that location.
When Sprinkle learned there were fatalities and additional injuries at the "Head-On Collision," she called the Sherman Fire Department for assistance with an ambulance. There simply were not enough ambulances available locally to deal with all the needs which were arising at the same time. She also called for a second police officer and the Department of Public Safety to assist, as well as for the Justice of the Peace to attend the accident scene and to pronounce the death.
At 4:05, Sprinkle received a call reporting a structure fire in Southmayd. She paged the Collinsville and Sadler Fire Departments to respond to this scene.
At 4:21, as these three events were simultaneously occurring, Sprinkle received a call about a four-year child who was in a water swollen creek. By this time the EMS crew from the "Gordonville Call" had cleared, and she dispatched them to this scene, along with the Whitesboro Fire Department and the Grayson County Sheriff's Office.
At 4:40, she received a call about a grocery store robbery. A man who bought a pack of cigarettes grabbed for the cash register drawer when the clerk opened it in order to give him his change. Sprinkle took a description of the suspect and the direction of travel and notified the Whitesboro police officers who were still on scene at the "Head-On Collision."
At 6:09, as she continued to deal with the sequence of events which had begun earlier in her shift, the city's storm warning sirens went off--by themselves--apparently due to the increasingly bad weather. She had to dispatch the on-call electric worker for the city to deal with the sirens, all the while answering an untold number of calls coming in on both the 911 lines and the non-emergency lines, with inquiries about the weather warning signal.
When all was said and done that afternoon, Sprinkle had managed all of those situations with the following outcomes: the woman in the "Gordonville Call" survived the rising water; the "Head-On Collision" had one fatality, one injured and transported by EMS and one injured and transported by private vehicle; the child in the creek rescued without injury; the robbery suspect identified and arrested; the malfunctioning weather sirens fixed; the concerned public informed calmly about the siren problem.
Vicki Sprinkle is an 18 year veteran with the Whitesboro Police Department. On April 29, 2009, she was the right person in the right spot. In recognition of her commitment, dedication, professionalism and cool head, this year's Telecommunicator of the Year Award was justly bestowed.
In 1991, a resolution was introduced in the United States Congress to create National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, and was repeated in 1993, and again in 1994 before becoming permanent. Today the national week is celebrated across the country each year during the second full week of April.
Last year 85 telecommunicators from Cooke, Grayson and Fannin county agencies answered more than 100,000 calls made to 911.
Janis Crawley, Economic Development Director accepts the 2009 Community Economic Development Merit Recognition Award from TEDC CEDA Committee Chair, Carolyn Molt at the Texas Economic Development Council Annual Conference. Janis accepts the award for the entire team, saying "I always have to give credit to the wonderful volunteers on our team: Brandon Parker, Tommy Neal, Cary Bryan, Bill Hayes, Truman Case, Terry Stone, Ryan Dahle, Mike Haynie, Amy Goedecke, Craig Falco, Jerry Warren, Jon Sanders, Ralph Burton, Tim Meado".
The Whitesboro Economic Development Team was recognized and nominated as one of three for the 2009 CEDA Award. The awards criteria is based on Innovativeness, Transferability, Community Commitment and Leverage, Measured Objectives and secondary benefits. The Whitesboro Team met all 5 criteria’s therefore fell into the nomination for population under 5000 for the creation of the Whitesboro Industrial Park and the innovativeness of working with a developer for the creation of 25 new jobs by the IESI Corporation. The “Team” took a disused property transferred into useable space, sold to a developer, landed the IESI Corporation, laid sewer and water lines and opened up additional acres with full utilities.
The Mayor and City Council presented the Whitesboro Industrial Development Corporation with the July 2009 Community Service Award.
This award is presented each month at the City Council regular called meeting as an expression of appreciation by the Citizens of Whitesboro for outstanding volunteer service to the community.
Left to right are: Brandon Parker, Board President; Truman Case; Charles Whitecotton, City Councilman; Cary Bryan. Back Row: Bill Hayes and Tommy Neal.
Keep Texas Beautiful recognizes Keep Whitesboro Beautiful and presents the Governor's Community Achievement Award of Excellence for preserving a clean and beautiful environment in the great State of Texas to be enjoyed now and by future generations.
Pictured at left is Keep Whitesboro Beautiful Vice President, Sharron Welch and Whitesboro Mayor, Dee Welch with council member Jim Keller in the background. This award was presented at the August 2008 council meeting.
Whitesboro employee, Martha Railey (Purchasing Director) and Mayor Dee Welch hold the President's Award for 2007 presented to the City of Whitesboro by the Texoma Land Water Utilities Association given with thanks to the City Employees for their outstanding support and employee dedication to the organization. (right)