Ken Jernstedt:A pilot and a gentleman

Flying Tiger Ken Jernstedt stands next to his plane during World War II. Piloting the iconic aircraft over Burma in 1941-42, he shot down more than 10 Japanese airplanes.

Flying Tiger Ken Jernstedt stands next to his plane during World War II. Piloting the iconic aircraft over Burma in 1941-42, he shot down more than 10 Japanese airplanes.

The Hood River community, and all of Oregon, mourns the death of Ken Jernstedt Sr., community leader and true war hero. He died Feb. 4 at age 95.

Visitors to Ken and Gen Jernstedt’s home were always warmly welcomed and enjoyed stories of the aviation art and the hundreds of elephants Ken collected.

Jernstedt, former mayor and state legislator, was a devoted community servant in Oregon from the time he arrived in Hood River in 1946. This came on the heels of five years of decorated military service, including the appreciation of the Chinese government in 1943.

Jernstedt, fittingly, was one of the first nine inductees into the Oregon Aviation Hall of Honor.

It was just one of his many honors.

In 1981 the Air National Guard Base in Portland renamed its main entrance gate the “Jernstedt Gate” in his honor. Linfield named Jernstedt their “Honorary Alumnus of the Year” in 1983. In 1996 Jernstedt earned a Flying Cross for his service with the Flying Tigers and in 1997 he was inducted as a lifetime member for the Oregon Pilots Association.

You see his name on the sign at the Hood River Airport: the Ken Jernstedt Airfield was dedicated in 1998.

In his later years, the decorated flyer was well known for the way he got around on foot.

In 1979 Jernstedt began losing his sight due to glaucoma; barely two years later he lost vision in his right eye because of a detached retina. In 1996 Jernstedt was declared officially blind.

Jernstedt never let the encroaching dark slow him down. He served on the Oregon Commission for the Blind to help establish self-sufficiency programs for the blind, both young and old.

After he was declared blind Jernstedt was paired up with Driscoll, a faithful, yellow Labrador retriever guide dog.

In 2002, Jernstedt was a guest of honor in the Rose Bowl, aboard the first-ever Guide Dogs for the Blind float in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

Ken and Driscoll were familiar and beloved sight around town for years until his mobility became greatly infringed.

In 2002, Jernstedt told a reporter that the bond between man and dog had become so tight that he would not take his eyesight back if it meant he would have to give up his friend Driscoll.

Such love and loyalty was testament to the fact that pilot Ken Jernstedt’s feet were always planted firmly on the ground.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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