Tuscarawas County Couple Help Create Safer Neighborhoods
Dick and Earlene Kincaid have been American Red Cross volunteers for nearly eight years. They have responded to hurricanes, tornadoes and floods in Texas, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Alabama as members of the Red Cross National Disaster Action Team, providing hot meals and comfort to thousands of people made suddenly homeless by extreme weather. Their most recent deployment was to Flint, Michigan in response to the water crisis there.
But the work they’ve done in their own backyard has made the biggest impact in the lives of their neighbors.
The Kincaids have installed more than 1,100 smoke alarms in homes in the Stark County and Muskingum Lakes Chapter since October 2015. In a previous article, posted last December, it was noted that they had installed 750 alarms in fewer than three months. With more than 1,100 installations now to their credit, Dick and Earlene installed more than half the total annual number of smoke alarms for the entire Chapter, in fewer than six months!
Dick wields the drill and installs the alarms while Earlene provides valuable fire safety information to residents. She said, “Most of these people don’t have working smoke alarms, or they don’t have any at all.” The Kincaids work mostly on weekends, when people are more likely to be home. They spend about 15 minutes in each home, installing alarms on each floor. And they average about 100 installations a week.
Not bad for a couple who survived a motorcycle crash in 2007.
“I flew like a bird, but my landing sucked,” Dick says with a grin. Earlene says she rolled better, suffering only a broken shoulder and some scrapes. Dick says he spent 18 days at the Cleveland Clinic, undergoing 5 surgeries to save his leg, and spent another 9 months in a hospital bed in the living room of their home in Magnolia, Ohio.
Dick retired from Timken as a steelworker that same year. Once he got back on his feet, Dick and Earlene Kincaid began their careers as Red Cross volunteers, responding to national disasters and local home fires. But their Operation Save-A-Life efforts are taking up most of their volunteer time now.
“We’ve had people who have had three little kids in a trailer home, and no smoke alarms. They burn so fast,” Dick says. “If we can save any lives at all, that’s good enough.”