September 1999


Kindness of strangers

Several things have happened in recent weeks that are indicative of the type of good people who work at ORNL.

No choke under pressure: The Metals and Ceramics Division’s Vic Pardue was attending a metallography course at ASM International’s headquarters in Metals Park, Ohio, in late July. While lunching in the cafeteria, he noticed that a woman at a table nearby was choking. “In fact,” Pardue says, “she was turning blue.”

Pardue, who learned the Heimlich maneuver during a training class at ORNL, tried twice to administer the maneuver while she was sitting. Unsuccessful, he lifted her, kicked away her chair and applied the hold while standing. The object came out, and the woman quickly recovered. Pardue’s supervisor, Dave Braski, says Vic “is a hero.”

Passing the bucks: Although ORNL has discontinued its safety buck program, the “bucks” can be redeemed for items until the end of the year. Since the more bucks you have, the better the premium, a group of Energy Division employees pooled their bucks to buy a stereo system for Positively Living, a day-care center for adults with terminal illnesses. Energy’s Bob Shelton, Barbara Vogt Sorensen and Melissa Lapsa gave the system to the center’s managers. The center relies solely on grants and community donations such as the Energy Division’s.

Remembering a friend: Donald Thompson died in 1998 from complications of diabetes. His fellow workers, the Steam Plant crew that won this year’s Operational Improvement of the Year award at Awards Night, elected to give the $2000 monetary stipend that comes with the award to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation in honor of Donald.

The late Donald Thompson's father and aunt came to ORNL to see him remembered with a gift to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
Members of Donald’s family came to ORNL on August 6, along with Terri Brooks of the local JDF, to receive the check from the Plant and Equipment Division crew. The family and the P&E crew also received plaques commemorating the gift in Donald’s name. Said P&E’s Butch Banks, “We’ll treasure this; he’ll always be with us.” JDF’s Brooks mentioned that 84 percent of the cash gift would go for diabetes education and research.

A new life: Acting ORNL Chief Counsel Jeff Guilford ran a request in the Lab’s internal want ads for household item donations for an Albanian Kosivar family. The family was burned out of its home during the trouble in the Balkans and wound up in a West Knoxville apartment. The Guilfords are helping community efforts to get the family established toward a new life.

Need we ask: Despite these uncertain times, ORNL employees have met this year’s United Way goal and then some. Enough said.

Doing something about the weather

The Walker Branch Watershed’s Throughfall Displacement experiment is proving to be a relevant exercise for residents of the northeastern and mid-Atlantic sections of the country, who have experienced a record drought this summer. The TDE experiment gauges the effects of abnormally dry or wet weather on forests.

In the TDE experiment, some of the incoming rainfall is diverted from one plot of ground representing a dry spell to another representing wet weather. The Environmental Sciences Division’s Paul Hanson is one of the researchers who have carefully documented the effects that five years of altering the “weather” has had on tree growth and the ecosystem.

“For instance, root production is reduced during drought periods,” Graham says. “But it also exhibits significant increase when the drought ends, which may be a process that allows plants to adapt to changing rainfall patterns.”

Climate change researchers predict that global warming caused by increased greenhouse gases will cause variations in rainfall and other climate conditions that could in turn affect forest ecosystems over the long run. If that proves to be the case, the TDE experiment is providing insight into what to expect.

Reported by Bill Cabage



Physical therapy clinic addresses the aches & pains

If you’ve been injured on or off the job, ORNL now has a physical therapy facility to help speed your recovery. “The goal of the clinic is to help reduce the suffering, absence and costs associated with musculoskeletal injuries, says clinic director and physical therapist Chuck Hochanadel. “We want to provide accurate assessment and prompt, on-site treatment to minimize pain and disability.”

The clinic is staffed by Hochanadel, physical therapist assistant Kay Traughber and exercise physiologist Sydney Van Hook, who work with patients using equipment that includes a treadmill, stationary bike, weight machines, cervical and pelvic traction, ultrasound and nerve and muscle stimulators. In addition to clinical treatment, the physical therapy staff can assist with ergonomic assessments and provide safety education for injury prevention.

Will Lab employees use a physical therapy clinic? “Already, since opening June 14, the center has had 115 referrals resulting in over 700 patient visits,” Hochanadel says. Roughly half of these patients have back or neck complaints; others have injuries to extremities.

Located in Building 2506, the physical therapy clinic operates on a referral basis from ORNL Medical. Employees should have a prescription from ORNL Medical to access the clinic, even if they’ve been referred for therapy by a private physician. Call the clinic at 241-4220.