concrete

I first met my nephew, Riley Birky, when he was 9 years old, and his mom, Rachel Schulenberg married my brother-in-law, Ron Schulenberg. Over the years that he has been in our family, Riley has gone through the fairly typical years of a kid, with the teen years being typically the most tumultuous, as is the case with most teens. While those were tough times for Riley, one thing that you could always count on, was that you could always count on Riley. Riley might not have always been excited about helping out, but if he said he would help you with something, he would. He always had a tendency to take care of everybody before himself. If there is a call for assistance with something, Riley will be the first to respond. His mom say of Riley, “He is so brave and committed and always striving to do his best.”

Those kid days are long gone now, and Riley is grown up. He works very hard doing concrete work at Griffis Quality Fencing and Welding in Powell, Wyoming. Riley likes his job and is a great employee. He finds the work interesting. Riley has grown into a good man, and that is one of the best things that can be said about a man. Riley likes his job, but it isn’t all that he is about. Like most people, your job is what you do to earn money to do what you want to do. Riley likes adventure…doing something new and exciting. He also loves the outdoors.

Riley has grown up so much in the past year. He has a great group of friends, who have been there for him. He has also been blessed with a wonderful girlfriend, Sierah Martin, and her two-year-old son, Jace. Riley loves kids, and was always such a great big brother to his brother, Tucker Schulenberg. They don’t get to see each other as much as they used to, since Tucker lives in Casper, but they are still close. Riley was also blessed this year to become a godparent to a sweet little boy. I think that has been a great honor to him. Today is Riley’s 20th birthday. Happy birthday Riley!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Fallout_shelter_photoFrom the end of World War II, until the mid 1990s, the world was in the middle of the Cold War. The Soviet Union had developed atomic weapons, and they were threatening to use them. Tensions were high, because they were flexing all the military muscle they could. A common part of the administration was make sure that the people of the United States were ready for the very real possibility of an attack. The Eisenhower administration formed the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA), later called the Office of Civil Defense, to instruct the people on what to do in the event of a nuclear attack.

On this day, October 6, 1961, President Kennedy urged the people of the United States to build bomb shelters, so they could live through the nuclear fallout in the event of an attack. I was a girl of just five years, in 1961, but I vividly remember seeing those fallout shelters and knowing that it was possible that the day could come when we might have to take shelter there. That is pretty scary stuff for a five year old girl, but it was simply the world we lived in.

Nuclear BombWhen I fast forward to this day and age, I have to wonder why some of the same precautions aren’t being put in place by this administration. We all know that Iran has nuclear weapons, and Russia, along with China, are beefing up their forces too. In many ways, the Cold War is in full force again, and no one seems to be reacting to the dangers. Maybe it is because we are getting used to the threat of nuclear war, but it still seems odd to me that there is not more preparation. Even I must admit that as a child, the fallout shelters were a source of unease for me, but now…even with the threat of nuclear war constantly in the news, I just don’t feel the same kind of concern…though maybe I should.

A fallout shelter was intended to reduce casualties in a nuclear war. It is designed to allow those inside it to avoid exposure to harmful fallout from a nuclear blast and its likely aftermath of radiation until radioactivity has dropped to a safer level. A basic fallout shelter consists of shielding that reduces gamma ray exposure. The most dangerous fallout has the consistency of sand or finely ground pumice, so a fallout shelter would not need to filter fine dust from air. The fine dust emits relatively little radiation. Concrete, bricks, earth, and sand are Fallout shelter signsome of the materials that are dense or heavy enough to provide fallout protection. Basically this shelter could be much like a tornado shelter, except that it would need to have a door that seals completely.

Concrete was the most often used building material of fallout shelters, with walls at least 12 inches thick. The required shielding could be accomplished with 10 times the amount of any quantity of material capable of cutting gamma ray effects in half. Shields that reduce gamma ray intensity by 50 percent include 0.4 inches of lead, 2.4 inches of concrete, 3.6 inches of packed dirt or 500 feet of air. I suppose the main concern for most of us the difficulty building one of these shelters, Nevertheless, that is exactly what President Kennedy urged the people to do, and what many of them did do. It was terrifying stuff, and it makes you wonder what is wrong with people who would even consider detonating one of these nuclear bombs.

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