11 February 2012

Chaser Profile: David Toner


1) What is your name and where do you live?

David Toner, Ozark, MO (Springfield, MO area)

2) Do you have a website or a brand name that people identify you as?

Not really, Toner/Blum chase team but we just do our own thing.

3) What got you interested in weather?

Became interested in weather during hurricane season in Eastern Carolina in September1984 with Hurricane Diana. She started my quest for knowledge and my love of weather.

4) What is your favorite aspect of weather?

My favorite aspect of weather... Not sure I have one but if I had to pick one the supercell is likely it.

5) When did you first start chasing?

April 25, 1994, reluctantly after multiple hail storms in the Dallas area and the fascination of how to know when to pull my car into cover and narrowly dodging what ended up becoming the F4 tornado that destroyed parts of DeSoto, Lancaster and Hutchins Texas.

6) What do you see chasing as... a hobby or a business?

Hobby but with the responsibility of being a Paramedic.

7) Who do you credit for getting you into chasing and what have they done to further your career? 

Robert Ashmore, KA5SNM (SK) is who got me into being a serious chaser. He introduced me into Skyewarn and RACES/ARES. Then saw something in me to let me mobile spot, then free reign (first ever) and eventually an "honorary lifetime membership" in the Mesquite, TX RACES/ARES team.

8) Do you have any chase partners? 

Jason Blum is my primary chase partner. He's also a paramedic. We offset each others weaknesses nicely. I read the sky and he reads the data and radar expertly. There are a few other local chasers who I hook up regularly like Brian Hurst, Buddy Salle, Jill Gilardi, Ted Keller among others. (Sorry if I left you out).

9) What is your most successful chase?

 May 22, 1997 Jarrell, TX, April 22, 2010 Panhandle of Texas and May 22nd, 2011 Joplin, MO.

10) What is your most terrifying moment?

May 11, 2010 after getting stuck in a ditch.https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=1394678660020&set=t.1176560129&type=3&theater
May 22nd, 2011 after losing data and not having an experienced chase partner as Joplin was getting destroyed.

11) About how many tornadoes have you seen?


12) What do you think about people who chase for sales and the need to get up close and personal with Mother Nature?

To each their own. I can't say I haven't gambled and been lucky but I'm probably a little more on the cautious side.

13) Describe your dream chase.

 A nice wedge in western OK, KS or NE with just fields and pastures and no homes in the way.

14) What is your favorite set up to chase?

Maturing as a chaser in Texas the dryline is where my heart lies.

15) Which state has brought you the most success? Least success? 

Texas early, OK/KS/MO in the past 5 or so years.

16) Do you want to pursue a career in meteorology? Would you ever chase locally for a t.v station?

Too limited opportunities to pursue a career at my age. Having it do all over I would enrolled in Texas A&M when the opportunity presented itself. No TV affiliation but maintain close relationship with Ted Keller at KOLR 10 in Springfield, MO and Jill Gilardi at WOWT in Omaha, NE.

17) What do you see chasing as being like in 5-10 years? 

Who knows, technology makes it much easier than in the "old days". Study a little meteorology and/or learn to read the sky.I hope it becomes more of the self reliant spirit it used to be than before it became follow the dots (or hatched area) as it has since become or so it seems.

18) Despite all the deaths and destruction in 2011, are you looking forward to chasing in 2012 knowing you can run into a Tuscaloosa or Joplin? 

 Honestly, yes. But I hope never to see the destruction witnessed chasing and professionally as a Paramedic again. Chasing is what gets me through the winter.

19) Is there any point in time where you had no desire to chase anymore? What caused that and what gave you the power to move on. 

Every time I see homes destroyed I second guess it. But chasing isn't something I can ever give up. Ultimately its how I get through the winter.

20) How long do you plan on continuing chasing?

 Corny as it sounds I'll chase until I get killed doing it or I can't physically do it any longer or those around me can't either.

21) Outside of chasing, what do you like to do? 

I love being a Paramedic most of the time. I enjoy baseball, football and hockey as well as reading and some computer games like flight simulator and such.

22) What kind of music do you like to listen to on the chase or in general? 

 80's and 90's rock until the chase is on. I'm pretty much deaf so the radio is off during a chase.

23) What is your favorite professional and college sports team?

 Texas Rangers, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Stars, UNC and Texas. Love college football but do not have a clear cut favorite, just my hates. Notre Dame and Florida State.

24) Do you have a family or pets?

Married to a Veterinarian. So, we have 3 dogs and 5 cats. 

25) Tell me 3 things that someone outside of chasing may not know you for.

I'm a civil war buff, a fire buff and have a desire to see all 50 states and all the provinces/territories of Canada.

26) If you have kids or plan on having them... would you like to involve them in your chasing?

My son graduates this Spring and has no interest in chasing or weather.

27) Do you have a job and what do you do?

I am a Paramedic working in a suburb of Springfield, MO.

28) How do you feel about people who say they chase tornadoes for the sole purpose of saving lives? 

Do not believe them. We will put the cameras down for rescue ops.

29) If there was one event in history that you wish you were around for to chase, what would it be?

That's easy, the Tri-State Tornado.

30) Do you only chase severe weather or do you chase hurricanes and winter weather as well? 

 Generally just severe weather but have hoped to get in on some hurricane action the past few years but hasn't worked out.

31) Do you go to a college or university, if so, what do you major in? 

Coastal Carolina Community College Business Admin and St. Johns Health System EMS Education Paramedic.

32) What do you expect in 2012?

Looks like another La Nina year so I expect a similar year as last year but I pray it'll be a lot less in urban areas.

Chasing has been the remedy for my winter blues since my first chase. It's my hobby, I don't hunt but I do know what its like to sit for a long time waiting for the right target or to stalk prey. A successful chase to me isn't necessarily just bagging a tornado, seeing great storm structure, big hail or even a wall cloud all count too. All in all, with very few exceptions there's nothing I'd rather be doing than chasing. I am very lucky to have a great partner in Jason Blum (we also may be a bit unique in that we are both paramedics) and a awesome wife, Bonnie who fully supports me in my endeavors.

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