Fort Worth Star-Telegram
July 21, 1991
Edition: FINAL AM
For lack of chain her life was lost
Author: O.K. Carter; Star-Telegram Writer
Not everyone making the lobby circuit in Austin during the current legislative session has some special interest ax to grind for a multi-billion dollar corporation.
Consider Bob Rankin, a data processing executive from Arlington who invested his vacation time sitting in capitol building legislative offices in the hope that he might be able to save a few lives over the next few years.
Rankin was the husband of Sheri Rankin, killed in Arlington May 10 when a trailer came loose from a towing vehicle and struck her car in opposite-bound traffic. Police estimated that she was driving only 35 mph at the time, and she was wearing a seatbelt. Even so, her small car was no match for a trailer load of steel beams.
"Incredibly, the trailer didn't have safety chains attached to the vehicle," said Rankin, who since then has discovered that Texas is one of only eight states that don't require safety chains.
He's made it a personal agenda lobbying item since, even attempting to get an audience with Gov. Ann Richards to place the issue on the special session docket.
He's unlikely to succeed this time around, but Arlington's legislative delegation - particularly Rep. Kim Brimer - is likely to support his efforts in the future.
Though no statistics are available on runaway trailer accidents, such incidents are more common than might be expected. Not too long ago a Mansfield police officer was also killed by a runaway trailer.
Patriotic debit: Insurance executive Pete Morris took it on himself to be the official provider of Arlington July 4 festivities apparel - t-shirts, hats and the like - and he sold a lot of the stuff, with kick-ins to the 4th of July Committee.
It's not too late for a swell Independence Day 1991 Arlington t-shirt or Frisbee - maybe even with a big discount. Morris is open to negotiation at 274-5535.
Friendly help: Arlington Charities ran out of cash long before it ran out of needs at its new Secretary Street office.
But they found a host of rescuers - from Tom Foster some general construction work, Rocky Walton wrote a check for overhead fans, Hugh Ross provided the outside sign, Elton Smith the pantry shelving, Sodd Electric some needed electric work and Wayne Clark the phone system installation.
"It seemed like every time we needed help, a small miracle happened to see us through," said volunteer Evelyn Coles. "People helped us at every turn and didn't ask for a single bit of credit."
Indeed, Arlington Charities probably wouldn't be able to continue functioning as well as it does without a host of volunteers - people like Nancy Smith, Dr. John Decker, Dr. Harold Berman, John Davis, Bob Essler and P.T. Putnman to name a few.
A bigger miracle: Outgoing Arlington Cares chairman Melissa Saltamachio officially signed off her year at the helm by signing a couple of big checks - $20,000 to the Arlington Multiple Schlerosis Association chapter and a larger than expected $24,100 check to the local John Peter Smith Clinic.
The $44,100 total was a new Arlington Cares record - one that new chairwoman Anita Gatchel plans to eclipse next spring.
"We're shooting for a $50,000 donation," Gatchel said.
Arlington Cares selects a different charity every year, a process taking place this month and next.
Gatchel hopes to expand earnings by expanding the Arlington Cares weekend - it includes a gala, 10-K run, tennis tournament and golf tournament - to Arlington Cares Week, spreading and expanding participation over several days.
O.K. Carter's column appears here every Sunday, and in the Arlington section of the Star-Telegram on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Copyright 1991, 1994 STAR-TELEGRAM INC.
Record Number: FWST36378