Dayton native and retired OSP lieutenant safe from devastation in Hawaii

Dayton native and retired Ohio State Highway Patrol Lt. Doug Eck, who now lives in Kona, wants his friends and family to know he is out of harm's way from the Kilauea volcano eruptions that have affected thousands on The Big Island.

Eck lived in Dayton for 51 years, then moved to The Big Island with his wife a little over a year and a half ago after retiring.

Eck was a former Xenia Post Commander and retired from the OSP after 25 years.

The largest island in the state, The Big Island is roughly the size of Connecticut, and where Eck resides in Kona is approximately 70 miles away from Puna where the volcano erupted.

Contrary to popular belief, when a volcano erupts, it doesn't always mean everyone on the island will have to evacuate.

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"From where we are, it's similar to the Ohio River flooding and affecting people in Piqua," Eck said. "Geographically, that's a lot of distance."

Eck and his wife have received a lot of calls the past few days from friends and family members concerned about their safety.

"This is terrible for the folks over there, really devastating, we are not seeing any effects other than minor earthquakes and vlog, which by the time it gets to us makes things look hazy," said Eck.

National media coverage on Kilauea has been misleading, according to Eck, making many believe all residents of The Big Island have had to evacuate.

Eck says the limited coverage has led his family to believe all Big Island residents were at risk, and feels coverage at the local level has been more accurate.

'It's hard to understand how big an effect it is if you don't live here," said Eck.

Eck says volcano eruptions are nothing new to residents of Hawaii, and residents are accustomed to keeping an eye on possible eruptions, similar to living in the Midwest with tornadoes and hurricanes on the coast.

"Some of the best scientists in the world live here and study this volcano," said Eck. "They were warning people a couple months in advance to evacuate because something was coming. It's reassuring they are watching for this 24 hours a day."

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Eck and his wife, along with many other Kona residents, have sent items to families affected such as toothpaste and water.

An estimated 1,700 people were ordered to evacuate, many still unsure if they have property to go back to.

"Thanks to friends and family back home who have been concerned about us," said Eck. "If anyone is collecting items to send to Hawaii, that would be much appreciated."

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