I'm Just Sayin'
Random Thoughts from a Random Guy

Oct
08

Mrs. Lynn Byrnes & Ms. Linda Walker

The last eight days have been some of the most emotionally draining on my small town of Carterville. We lost not one, but two beloved kindergarten teachers within days of each other.

Mrs. Lynn Byrnes, 72, died September 29. She experienced complications after a surgery. Mrs. Byrnes fought and appeared at times to be recovering. But sadly, she did not recover and we lost her.

My children started school after Mrs. Byrnes retired in 2005. But even though she was retired, she stayed active in the community. In fact, she substituted when one of my son’s started kindergarten and his teacher was out on medical leave. Mrs. Byrnes also subbed at the Pre K program that my daughter attended.

I had the pleasure of meeting her on several occasions, even doing a “Class Act” story on her at the time of her retirement. Mrs. Byrnes was a very patriotic lady. She and her students would make flags in honor of the men and women who serve our country. The class would mail the flag to different places each year. The White House, the war zone, television studios. Lots of people got a little piece of that love and respect from our community.

My wife also got to know Mrs. Byrnes after seeing her almost daily when she dropped our daughter off for Pre K. Mrs. Byrnes death touched all of us Hunspergers. So it was only natural that we would attend her visitation at the former high school. Hundreds of people came out to pay their respects.

That service was Monday evening. About 45 minutes before we headed to the old high school (4:15 p.m.), I noticed an ambulance came zipping up the road between our house and the elementary school. Concerned, I watched as a school employee rushed out the side of the building to meet the paramedics who unloaded a gurney and ran up the sidewalk.

I wondered to my neighbor what was going on, but never imagined the reality of what was occurring. In fact, the ambulance seemed to be there for a long time, I never saw them come out of the school. But I did hear the ambulance race away again, probably 20 minutes after it first arrived. My assumption was either a student (latch key) or a teacher had a non life threatening injury of some kind.

We went to Mrs. Byrnes service and then to my oldest son’s fall band concert. After a tearful time at the service, it was nice to laugh and clap and watch some talented young musicians. The happiness did not last.

My wife received a call from the school district’s alert now system that kindergarten teacher Linda Walker was in the hospital in critical condition. The message explained that counselors would be at school Tuesday morning to help students.

My first thought was that Ms. Walker had passed away. Why else would they have counselors at school? Then I got on Facebook, and everyone in this small town had posted the same question, “What is going on with Ms. Walker?” And no one knew. Finally around 9:30 that evening we had gotten word that they were preparing to harvest Ms. Walker’s organs. My wife and I were both devastated by this news.

Again, none of my children had Ms. Walker, but she had a huge impact on everyone she met. In fact, just that afternoon, Ms. Walker had given my daughter a high-five because she held the door open for a little boy. My daughter was beaming with pride by this. She loved Ms. Walker even though she wasn’t in her class.

Explaining to her that Ms. Walker had died wasn’t easy. She covered her ears and told my wife to stop talking. This broke our hearts. As the day wore on Tuesday, the details of Ms. Walker’s death became public. I had heard a rumor early that morning that she had committed suicide, but I chose not to believe it. But the grim reality set in, Ms. Walker had taken her own life.

My wife and I decided to be up front and honest with our kids. They came home from school and had questions and we answered them truthfully. Our reasoning is we’d rather set the record straight with them, than have them picking up misinformation from classmates and other students.

We explained to them that if they’re ever feeling depressed and need someone to talk to, we are here for them. If they’re not comfortable with that, there are professionals at school that can help.

After attending the memorial Friday evening, I feel a sense of comfort. I’ve spent several days this week crying, trying to understand why both of these tragic events had to happen. I’m glad the pastor talked openly about what happened. Suicide is hard to understand. It leaves loved ones and friends searching for answers and asking why.  And while we’ll never know why, I won’t judge her for what she did either.

At the memorial service Ms. Walker’s colleagues read a few of the hundreds of handwritten cards hanging in the church lobby. Some were short and sweet. Others expressed sorrow with several sentences. But all of them talked about how much Ms. Walker was loved. I hope that she sees that now.

Depression probably prevented her from seeing that. But her students, friends, family, and coworkers all loved her. She had such a warm smile and kind words every time I ever talked with her.  My heart goes out to her family, students, friends, and colleagues.  I know this is not going to be easy.  But this community has rallied, and for the most part, the best in people has truly shined through this tragedy.

In closing, I will (as will all of us in Carterville) miss Mrs. Byrnes and Ms. Walker. Both of these women touched thousands of lives through the years. And their legacy will continue through memorial scholarships and in Ms. Walker’s case, organ donation.

God bless and Rest in Peace.

Aug
08

NHS Class of 1991

I recently attended my 20 year high school reunion.  It’s hard to believe it’s been that long.  When I was a kid, 20 years seemed like such a long time.  Now, it goes by in a flash.  That’s a cliche of growing up.  “Where did the time go?” we always ask.

In the 20 years that have passed, there have been a lot of changes in technology.  The advent of the Internet, email, and Facebook have forever changed the future of the high school reunion.  This of course is my opinion, but it’s what I observed during the course of the evening at my own reunion.
I first signed up for Facebook in 2008.  In the three years I’ve been on it, I’ve become “friends” with a lot of people.  Since I anchor a morning news program, I get a lot of requests from viewers, which I have added, but with limited access to my private life.  I’ve also been added and have added several people from high school, middle school, and elementary school.
At my reunion, less than a third of our class showed up.  We had a large class, I think right around 400 people walked on that day in May 1991.  While I didn’t expect all of them or even half of them to show up, I was disappointed by the turnout.  But I was happy to get reacquainted with old friends.

Reuniting with old friends

(I’m getting back to my point about Facebook) One thing I thought would happen was I’d be able to establish new relationships with some of the people I’m friends with on Facebook.  That didn’t happen though.  Sure, there were some casual “hellos”, and “how are you?”, but nothing beyond that casual greeting. I think with Facebook, we get to see what’s going on in each others lives and that takes away the need to actually socialize when we come face to face with someone who is more of an acquaintance and less of a friend.

Believe it or not, I am still a very quiet and shy person until I get to know people.  Walking into that reunion was like stepping back in time.  I became withdrawn and stuck to the people in my comfort zone.  I have very few friends that I still talk to or see on a regular basis from back then.  While Facebook has allowed more of us to keep in touch, it hasn’t helped develop my social skills.
There were many people there that I did not talk to at all.  Of course I had limited or no conversations with them in high school too.  But these were people who I really wanted to connect with, but for whatever reason, the shy guy took over and I couldn’t get the nerve to approach these folks, who for the lack of a better term are strangers to me.  Even the liquid courage I carried didn’t help push me across that line.
But to be honest, I didn’t see a whole lot of people crossing out of their comfort zones.  It seemed like the same crowds from high school hung together at the reunion.  There’s safety in numbers.  We want to be comfortable.  It’s much easier to comment on someone’s status update or picture than it is to walk over and engage in a conversation.
So has Facebook ruined the reunion experience, I’m not sure.  Ruin maybe too harsh a word.  But I would like to think that if I didn’t know things about people I haven’t talked to in years, I might be more inclined to approach them and engage in a conversation.  Classmates, if you read this, I’m curious to know what you think.  Or anyone who has been to a class reunion recently, has Facebook changed things for you?

Mar
30

The first family pic

Regular readers of my blog know that about 15 months ago my family lost a beloved member.  Our nearly 12 year old Blue Tick Coon Hound, Spot, had to be put down after a bout of Canine Vestibular Disease and what was most likely a brain tumor.

Spot’s death left us all feeling sad for a long time.  I still miss her and think about her every day.  And for a long time I wasn’t quite ready for another dog.  I knew eventually I would be.  I’d say around the one year anniversary of Spot’s death I was wanting to at least start looking for a dog.  I had my eye on some shelter pets that we run on our weekly “Pet of the Week” segment on the news, but none really caught my attention.

Then last week, my wife texted me the picture to your left.  Now keep in mind that I had been napping (I get up at 2:45 a.m.) and on Fridays I like to catch some z’s when I get home in the afternoon.  So when I got the message I was half out of it still and couldn’t focus.  The words with the picture simply said “What do you think?”  In all honesty (and remember I was not fully functioning mentally) that my family was at the mall and my wife was asking about my daughter getting her ear pierced.  I thought Brooke was poised in the corner and waiting for the woman to pierce them. (She had them pierced as a baby, but had some problems).  So I responded “Go for it.”

A bit later my wife texted me again and said I would have “meet her before we could bring her home, and that she’d need to see the vet.”  Puzzled I went back to the photo and actually clicked on it this time.  Now it made sense.  We were getting a dog.

I was really stoked.  My wife had been the one who didn’t want to get another dog.  But the kids and I knew eventually she would come to see things our way.  So that evening the kids and Lisa hit PetCo and loaded up on all the supplies.  They each got “Caprice” a toy and worked on developing a new name.  “Juno”, “Bean”, and “Nutters” all topped the list.  We narrowed it down to Juno with a middle name of Bean.  This little Border Collie/Rat Terrier mix would soon be ours.

On Saturday I went to meet her.   We were able to take her out to a big pen and let her run and play.  The kids each brought their gift for Juno as she ran through the wet grass and mud.  Then she proceeded to jump up on each of us, muddy paws and all.  I was immediately reminded of Spot and thought must have been smiling down upon us.

With a shelter dog there’s a waiting period to bringing her home.  She had to go to the vet, which was supposed to happen Monday, but

Juno!

didn’t end up happening until Tuesday.  Then I was finally able to get her and learn that in addition to a bout of mange, Juno is also heartworm positive.  But it’s something we are working with the vet on fixing, and they seem to think she’ll be just fine.  I’ve done some research online and feel better about the situation too.

We adore this dog so much.  She’s only been in our home for 24 hours and she’s already a part of the family.  She immediately ran around the living room and jumped up on the couch and eventually over it.  At 23 pounds she’s a small bundle of energy.  I say small because Spot topped the scales at more than 60 pounds at one point.

We’re working on house training and getting her on a routine.  As I type this, she’s lying very quiet and content on the floor next to my chair.  She is a people-dog and loves being our little shadow.  And I love it too.  I see a lot of Spot in Juno which makes me happy and I’m confident in knowing we made the right decision.

Mar
25

That's me in the back row, on the left and my friend Kevin on the right.

March 25, 1985 started off like any other day.  But little did I know by that evening my life would change forever.

It was a Monday.  Eight days earlier I had turned 12.  I was loving life as much as you can at that age.  I was wearing a mouth full of metal, soon to be fitted for braces, and I was close to getting my first pair of glasses.  But I was otherwise healthy and happy.

My mom had picked me up from school that sunny afternoon, and as we drove down our street, I waved to a friend of mine.  His name was also Kevin.  He was walking to his house, which was a few doors down from ours.  He was wearing a blue sweatsuit and a tshirt that said “I Love My ATV.”  He was also eating a snack bag of potato chips.  Kevin half heartedly waved back to me as he was digging in for more chips.  I remember he nodded his head at me too.

I went inside the house and started doing my homework.  About 45 minutes later, my younger brother came running into the house with another neighbor kid.  They said that Kevin had been in an accident while riding another neighbor’s 3 wheeler in the wooded area at the ended of our street.  My mom and I joined other neighbors and Kevin’s sisters to rush to the scene.  They kept us kids back as the ambulance raced to the field to help our friend.

At that moment, I thought maybe he had some broken bones and he’d soon join us back at school.  We had 3rd hour math together with Mr. Simpson.  I figured I’d be bringing his homework home for a few days while he convalesced.  Kevin’s sisters, Coleen and Carrie, joined us at our house that afternoon and into the evening as his parents rushed from work to get to the hospital.  I remember at one point Carrie crying and being upset and I told her everything would be alright.  Little did any of us know I was dreadfully wrong.

As the hours went on, another neighbor kid, Mike, said he heard that Kevin had died.  Honestly that whole time the thought never once crossed my mind that he might be dead.  I didn’t even want to think about it, but I did say a quick prayer to myself as we went back to the game we were playing.

It must have been close to 8 p.m. when Kevin’s parents arrived at our house to pick up his sisters.  I remember we had been playing our basement and I had come upstairs for something.  I looked outside to see my mom hugging his parents in our driveway.  I took that as a bad sign.  I nervously watched as they all came inside the house and wiped the tears from their eyes before heading downstairs.  Just as Kevin’s folks walked down the steps, I gave my mom a look and she nodded in response, knowing exactly what I was thinking.  I instantly began sobbing and ran to a bedroom as to not make a scene.

My parents tried to comfort me and explain what had happened and said that Kevin’s injuries were too severe for the doctors to save.  I don’t know why, but for some reason I went to school the next day.  Physically, I was there, but mentally I was someplace else.  I cried several times through the day and even went in to speak with the school counselor.  While her words were comforting, it did nothing to ease the pain.

The rest of that week all ran together and is a blur now.  I remember going to the funeral home and looking down at my friend’s lifeless body.  It was the first time I had attended a funeral that wasn’t an elderly person.  It was very surreal.  Friends and classmates gathered outside the viewing room and we chatted about our lost friend.  We laughed and cried too.  The next day many returned as Kevin was laid to rest.

I mentioned earlier that Kevin’s death changed me.  It made me more fearful of dying myself and losing others that I love.  Of course I’ve come to realize that death is natural, but not when you’re 12.  With the support of my family and the help of counseling, I’ve changed for the better.  But now that my own kids are reaching that age, I often think about Kevin and his family.  Shortly after the accident they moved to another town and we lost touch. I’ve reconnected with his sisters through Facebook.  I know his father has since passed away, but I can’t help to think about the heartache they felt and that his mother still feels.

Then I wonder what if he’d lived.  What if he never got on that 3 wheeler that day?  His family would have likely stayed in the neighborhood.  We would have gone to high school together.  And I’m sure we too would be Facebook friends.

That was 26 years ago.  And I think about Kevin often.  My parents still live in that same subdivision, but that wooded lot is now a shopping complex with a Schnucks grocery store, a Sears hardware store, and an Applebee’s among other businesses.  Each time I drive to my parents’ house I think of Kevin and that day so long ago.  I also remember the happier times of pool hopping in the summer, watching MTV for the first time on their satellite dish, and playing Khoury league baseball together.

Oddly enough on the night before my wedding I went to that Applebee’s with my groomsmen and a couple of others friends.  As I drank a beer in celebration of the big day, I thought of Kevin.  I smiled as I raised the glass remembering the good ol’ days and thinking about what my own future might hold.

So on this day, 26 years later, I remember my old friend Kevin Lohse, may he continue to rest in peace.

Feb
18

 

As Harry Potter at the 2008 Plunge

 

How many times have you been told to go jump in a lake?  I’ve heard expression, and I’ve taken it literally.  And in the cold too. But it’s all for a good cause.

After a two-year hiatus, I am once again doing the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics of Southern Illinois.  The event is coming up March 5th and is a MAJOR fundraiser for the southern district of Special Olympics.

The group supports more than 500 athletes in about a half-dozen different sporting events each year.  Of course they do the big spring games event, which I also have the honor of emceeing each year.  There are also bowling, bocce tournaments, and other fun activities.

 

"Udderly Ridiculous" My First Plunge in 2006

 

My first plunge was in 2006.  Here in southern Illinois, we dress up each year.  That first event it was just me and another coworker Samantha.  She was a farm girl, so I was a cow.  It was udderly ridiculous.  Get it?  Ha ha.  We had a blast running through the cold waters of Rend Lake.  I think the water temperature is about 38 degrees.  Air temp is usually slightly warmer, but not by much.

I believe in 2007 they had to chip ice off the lake before we got in.  That was a cold one.  But it’s a quick dip in the lake, run back to shore, grab a towel, and hit the hot showers.  Hundreds of people do it and raise thousands of dollars for these athletes.

 

 

My Aunt Donna as a child

 

I have a very personal reason for doing the Polar Plunge and supporting the Special Olympics.  My aunt Donna (my mom’s little sister) is mentally retarded.  Growing up, we would go and watch her compete in the Special Olympics.  She excelled at the softball throw, the 50 yard dash, and bowling.  She’s now in her late 50’s and has more trouble getting around, but she still proudly shows off all the medals and ribbons she won as a young woman.  It gave her an outlet to compete and was something she really enjoyed.

So when I hit those chilly waters every year, I think of Aunt Donna.  I’m also reminded of the smiling faces of the men and women who I’ve seen at the games here locally over the last 5 years.

Really these folks are no different from you and I.  They may be a little slower than us.  They may talk “funny”, or have trouble getting around, but they still relish the thrill of victory and sulk in the agony of defeat, just like us.

Admittedly, I wrote this more than to inform you of the Special Olympics.  This is a fundraiser for the group, and I would appreciate your support as I take the plunge again in March. If you want to help, please mail a check, payable to Special Olympics, to me at the TV station.

Kevin Hunsperger
1416 Country Aire Dr.
Carterville, IL 62918

Thanks!

Jan
26

For those of you who don’t know, I am a morning news anchor and reporter at a television station in southern Illinois. It’s a position I’ve held here for more than 7 years, and I’ve worked in three other television newsrooms since June 1996.  I’ve been an on air reporter since November 1997.

Through the years, I’ve developed thick skin.  You have to in this line of work or you won’t survive.  But today a viewer said something about me via Facebook that not only hurt my feelings, but made me feel compelled to write this post.

Here’s the skinny:  We got a call this morning about a bad accident in a town about an hour away.  Since it was early, there were no other reporters or photographers in the newsroom yet, so I grabbed a camera and headed to the scene.  For starters, when I got there, I had to walk about a half mile and didn’t even reach the scene when I was asked by police to turn around and walk back because they didn’t feel the scene was secure for journalists.  Mind you the road was wet and partially snow covered and I’m trudging along with a camera and tripod in my dress shoes.  (My bad for forgetting my boots today)  So as I was walking back, another officer gave me a lift to my station vehicle.  He assured me he’d escort me back when it was safe.  He did.

Once I got back, I was still about a quarter mile from the actually crash.  But I could tell it was bad.  Two semis and a mini van.  I shot some video and took a couple of pictures with my iPhone.  Eventually we (myself and the two competing TV stations) were allowed closer to the scene.  We all snapped pics with our phones and emailed them to newsrooms and uploaded them to Facebook.

I’m not going to post the pics here out of respect to the family and because I was taking them for the station’s Facebook page and this is my personal blog.  One picture told the story, half of the van was under one of the semis and the other half was in the road.  The license plate wasn’t even visible.  There were no identifying marks on the van.  Actually I’m not even 100% sure it was a van it was that mangled.  No blood, no body parts, no body bags.  Nothing.

The pictures posted created a fire storm between people thanking us for the coverage and those who thought the photos were in bad taste.  The person who really bothered said I was not ethical and quoted the Don Henley song “Dirty Laundry” about the “bubble headed bleach blond…”

That’s where I take offense.  In my 14 years in this business I’ve prided myself on being ethical and carefully considering other people’s feelings.  I still believe the photos I posted were not offensive and did not show anything that would identify the victims before their next of kin is notified.

The comment and other implied that I’m some heartless, gutless soul who doesn’t care about the people I report about and to.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  I have shed countless tears behind the scenes on stories I’ve done.  I’ve prayed for the families left behind after a devastating loss.  I’ve even attended funeral services as Kevin Hunsperger the person, not Kevin Hunsperger the journalist.

It’s ironic too, because a couple of months ago people were criticizing me for trying to find a candy cane factory in the area so I could do a feature on that for Christmas.  The news isn’t always sunshine and lollipops.  It’s my job to report the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Insult the way I anchor.  I know I have room for improvement, but don’t question my ethics.

I have probably crossed a line in posting this, but I really wanted to get this off my chest and explain I don’t lack ethics and if you think otherwise, call me at the station.  I’ve extended this invitation to the man who questioned me today, but he has not taken me up on it.

Thanks for reading.

Dec
02

Blogging has become a popular hobby these days.  In fact I have two different blogs.  I also have lots of friends who like to blog on a variety of topics.  So, today I’m going to share some of their works with you.  If you blog and I forgot to mention you here, I apologize.

Beauty Broadcast with Emily Eddington

Beauty Broadcast: If you want to learn more about makeup and beauty products, my friend and coanchor Emily Eddington is your expert.  She has an outstanding blog called Beauty Broadcast.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg for Em.  Her Youtube channel was recently highlighted on the website’s main page.   You’ll learn lots of things about makeup and beauty products as Emily puts them to the test and offers up reviews.  She’s been doing this for a few years now and really knows her stuff.  Her Youtube channel recently reached 90,000 subscribers.  If you haven’t already, then check her out.  She has also inspired me to blog more and start a Youtube channel too.  More on that later.😀


Artist Kelly Eddington

Alizarine: Em’s sister Kelly is quite the artist and cook.  I’ve tried her peanut butter and bacon cookies before and they were tasty.  Kelly blogs about her art projects (she does a lot of water color paintings, which truly are a sight to see) as well as recipes that she’s made.  Kelly is an art teacher who is taking some time off from school to work more on her paintings.  As she blogs, she includes lots of great photos of both the painting she’s working on and the recipes she’s creating.  She’s an artist in every sense of the word. Check out her works at Alizarine.

The Racing Superfan

To Finish First, First You Must Finish: Great advice, right?  Another one of my coworkers and friends, Ross Wece aka the Super Racing Fan, provides in depth analysis of Nascar and other forms of auto racing on his blog.  To Finish First, First You Must Finish features lots of pictures and stories about current racing trends as well as blasts from the past.  Ross also has  a Youtube channel you can see some of the races Ross has covered in Missouri, Kentucky, and Illinois.  Ross’ channel also includes his biweekly Racing Superfan segments where he provides previews and recaps of Nascar’s “Chase for the Cup.”  Of course, Nascar is on a break now, but Ross is keeping viewers up to date with the latest in all things car related in our “Behind the Wheel” segment.

Jeff Rose, CFP "Good Financial Cents"

 

Good Financial Cents: Another person who really inspired me to start blogging in the first place is Jeff Rose.  Jeff is a certified financial planner here in southern Illinois.  He’s also a friend of mine.  Jeff’s blog Good Financial Cents offers readers a wealth of information about everything from 401K’s, education saving plans for your kids, and Roth IRA’s.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg for Jeff too.  He also has a Youtube channel that provides further information for curious investors.  Jeff was recently named one of “The 25 Most Influential Finance Bloggers You Should Know.”  In addition to all that blogging, Jeff is using his experience as a certified financial planner and a veteran (he served in Iraq) to write a book called $oldier of Finance. The guy is busy.  You can learn a lot from him.

The House of Rose

 

House of Rose: Jeff’s wife, Mandy is also a blogger.  She’s the mom of two great little boys, with another on the way.  Many of her posts are about her family.  House of Rose also shares tips for family’s looking for advice.  She includes lots of great photos with her posts.  It’s a must see-must read page.


The May family has "A Love for Travel"

A Love for Travel: Who doesn’t like to get away from the daily grind every once and awhile?  Planning a trip and have questions?  My friend Trisha May can help.  She and her family have lots of traveling experience, especially when it comes to cruising.  Trisha’s blog, A Love for Travel is new.  It’s a very informative look at some of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to hitting the high seas.  Trisha uses her decade of experience to explain things in a fun way.  So if you’re a seasoned traveler or wanting to plan your family’s first vacation, Trisha’s advice can be useful.

Bluegrass sensations, Beaucoup Creek

 

Beaucoup Creek: My friend and morning show producer Weston White is also quite the musician.  He doesn’t blog about his experiences, but he and the members of his bluegrass band, Beaucoup Creek do have a website.  They provide visitors with a list of upcoming performances, details about the band, and most importantly; samples of their work.  I haven’t had a chance to see them live yet, but I’ve seen them on Facebook and Youtube and they sound great.  I’m still waiting for Weston to bring his upright bass to the station and play for us.

Scott & Laura Gross are "golden"

Best Bullion Prices: Looking to learn more about precious medals?  Here’s your golden opportunity. Laura Gross has a Youtube channel and blog, Best Bullion Prices.  Both websites offer people more details about the market here at home and how things are going overseas.  Laura’s husband Scott is an associate producer on the morning show and he uses his editing expertise to help produce the videos on the Youtube channel.  They share their real experiences with investing, so if you have questions, they’ve got your answers.

Me being me.

 

My 1-2-3 Cents:  Last but not least, one about me. Besides this blog, I also have a blog about wrestling.  My 1-2-3 Cents takes a closer look at one of my most favorite things in the world.  I’ve been a fan of wrestling for more than 25 years.  My posts are usually about the current product put on by WWE.  Sometimes I throw in some TNA thoughts.  I also include a lot of personal experiences I’ve had through the years with a variety of wrestlers.  So if you’re a fan of the squared circle, check it out!

So, please check out the works of my friends if any of these topics interest you.  And if you’re a friend who blogs and I forgot to mention you, please let me know.  I’ll do another one of these soon.

Thanks!

Nov
30

Ouch!

My job has provided me with a lot of amazing opportunities.  Fun things.  Neat things.  Sad things.  Even sometimes painful things.  Case in point, earlier this year I “grappled” with a professional MMA fighter.  The moves he performed were legit, but we were in a controlled setting I knew he wasn’t going to really hurt me.

Fast forward to today.  For weeks, we’d been talking about doing a segment on tasers on our morning show.  We found a professional who was willing to share his knowledge on the weapons and allow my coanchor Emily to “pull the trigger” so to speak on a taser.  The target: me.

I must say I was not forced or coerced into doing this.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to experience.  You always hear about tasers and see the stories with other reporters getting zapped.  In the last few years, two of my other coworkers had fallen victim.

Last week, we met with Chuck Doan.  Chuck is a police training specialist and someone I completely trusted for this project.  He explained what would happen and how it would fell.  We did it with me already on a mat, because most of the injuries from getting tasered is from falling to the ground.  It’s not the taser that actually does the harm.  And that’s why we wanted to do this segment.  It was a way to dispel some of the myths surrounding these devices.

Also, I was not going to be shot with the barbs either.  1) That would be extremely painful.  2) It would rip my clothes.  So this morning, Chuck and Emily spoke for a while about when police use a taser, why, and the potential for harm to the victim.

Leading up to today I had been calm and cool about it.  I posted that I was doing it on Facebook and got a flood of responses from people.  Some kidding around about me peeing in my pants (another misconception).  There were more serious concerns about possible cardiac arrest.  Again, I trusted Chuck’s words from our meeting before, and I had seen two other coworkers do this, so I wasn’t worried.

That is until I was there on the floor getting ready for this.  My heart was beating so fast, I’m surprised people couldn’t pick it up on my microphone.  And once the time came to actually do it, I could tell Emily was nervous.  Who wouldn’t be?  No one wants to zap an innocent bystander.  At least most of us don’t.

I was told the shock would last for 5 seconds.  That was the longest 5 seconds of my life.  It’s really hard to explain how it felt.  I wouldn’t characterize it as pain.  Definite discomfort though.  The ultimate zapping.  Well, maybe not ultimate.  Immediately after it was over, I got up to my knees.  I didn’t feel any different really.  There was that feeling of coming down off an adrenaline rush.  I could also tell where he had clipped the probe (probably not the right word) to my leg.  It was actually just clipped to my pants.  Most importantly, I didn’t cuss (this was live TV) and I didn’t pee or poo in my pants like so many had joked about.

My advice to you as you read this, if a police officer ever tells you to do something and you’re innocent, do it anyway.  You don’t want to get hit by one of this outside of a controlled setting.  Please take a few minutes to  watch the video, as Chuck and Emily do a much better job of explaining the importance of tasers and police using them properly.

Nov
08

As many of you reading this already know, I’m a Facebook junkie.  I had been on the Myspace bandwagon and then all the sudden Facebook seemed like the place to be, so I rode that wave.  And my original intent on getting onto Facebook was to reconnect with old friends and keep family members around the country up to date on the happenings of my family.

But being on TV, many viewers want to get in on that action too.  And I’ve added just about everyone who had requested to “be my friend.”  But some recent events have made me question that decision.  If it were just me broadcasting information about myself, I would have no problem.  But you see, I have a wife and three children who I’ve got to consider.  I am no longer comfortable with random strangers having access to my life.  I hope that doesn’t come off brash.  But again, my original intent with Facebook was to keep the people who I actually know informed of the activities in our lives.

So, what I’ve decided to do, effective Monday evening is create a second Facebook page that will be for News 3 viewers to join.  I will post stories, some photos, and other work related items on this page.  By doing that, I will be purging a portion of my current friend list.

If you are one who gets purged, please do not take it personal.  If we haven’t met, you will be on this purge list.  Please feel free to reconnect with me on the Kevin Hunsperger WSIL Facebook page.

I feel this is the best thing for me and my family at this time.  I have always appreciated your support, and look forward to that relationship continuing.

Thanks for understanding.

Kevin

Sep
21

She's a keeper. 9 pounds 8.4 ounces

Snakes and snails, and puppy dog tails, that’s what little boys are made of.  Sugar and spice and all that’s nice; that’s what little girls are made of.

Lisa and I knew that about boys.  We had two of them.  Ethan was almost 5, and Mason was about 3 1/2 when we decided to add another one to our brood. We had just moved to Illinois and had decided we wanted to expand our family.  Lisa was hoping for a third boy, I wanted a little girl.  Growing up I always wanted a sister and never had one.  So daughter would be great.
Lisa got pregnant in late December 2004.  And we decided (she did, really) that we weren’t going to find out the gender of the baby.  I was on pins and needles with anticipation.  Seriously.   I examined the 4D ultra sound pics, but besides a fat little face, I could tell what our baby was.  That’s probably in part because the tech didn’t get any shots that would let the cat out of the bag.

Big brother Ethan meets his baby sister

Lisa’s projected due date was September 21st.  That morning, she went to the doctor and was told it was probably a good idea to head to the hospital.  She came home first and we made arrangements to get the boys picked up from school and put the grandparents on standby.  Since we were living closer to St. Louis, they could all make the trip pretty easily.  Even when the boys were born, all three sets trekked the 5 hours to Indiana to see their new grandbabies.

MeMaw (my mom) was the first to arrive (my dad was stuck at work).  She sat in the room with us and kept the boys entertained too.  It was early afternoon and it seemed like not much was happening.  That’s because there wasn’t much happening.  This even after inducing labor.  I don’t remember all the particulars, but time was almost at a standstill.
As the day went on, the rest of the grandparents arrived.
Dinner time came and went.  I remember watching a story on the news about a plane having a wheel stuck and it couldn’t land.  This was also about the same time as Hurricane Rita.  One of my good friends was living in Houston at the time, and I had finally heard from him that he was safe.  This was long before Facebook for me and the iPhone, so I relied more on the TV for information.

The Hunsperger Five

As the night wore on, I walked to the waiting room, which had 3 sets of grandparents and 2 anxious soon to be big brothers.  Ethan had told me he was hoping for a baby sister.  Mason wanted a baby brother.  He said “If it’s a girl, I’ll kick her.”  Remember, he had just turned 4 at this point.

Finally, the hour had come.  The doctor (who was a resident, being supervised) said it was time to deliver.  By this point it was almost
11:30 p.m.  Nearly 12 hours we had waited for this moment.  Really, 9 months, but who’s counting?
Lisa pushed and I stood by and encouraged just like I always do.  A short time later, the doctor pulled the baby out.  Of course she was face down at the time and all I remember seeing was her hairy little back. Seriously, she looked like a little monkey.  It was more peach fuzz than hair I guess though.  Then once she was flipped over all my hopes had come true.  I had my little girl.  Literally, I was speechless.  Lisa had no idea what the gender was.  I remember hearing her voice, asking and that’s what brought  me back to reality.

Celebrating #5 with some fries.

Our little princess/diva made our family complete.  The boys love her and watch out for her, although Mason likes to annoy her.  But he’s never kicked her.  At least not in front of me.
So, 5 years later, I wish my baby girl the happiest of birthdays.
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