The one-two punch of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, while mind-boggling in the devastation caused, will also be remembered for the ordinary, everyday people who stepped up to help their friends, neighbors and complete strangers in their hours of need.
As we’ve seen after tragedies that resonate nationwide, Americans are at their best when circumstances are at their worst. Politics, race, gender and social status take a back seat when disaster strikes, be it the attacks of 9/11 or the aftermath of such natural disasters as Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy.
Across the country, relief efforts came pouring in — in the form of monetary donations, food and clothing and people traveling to storm-torn areas of Houston and Florida to do what they could to assist in helping to restore any semblence of a normal life for families and individuals who lost everything.
Here in Powell, local churches reached out to their congregations for help, and were rewarded for their efforts. At Powell Middle School, students and staff donated various items to the Aldine Independent School District in Houston, a district that counts 75 schools, from pre-school through high school, in its numbers. Northwest College men’s basketball head coach Brian Erickson grabbed a couple of friends and made the trip to Houston, spending several days donating their time and energy to clean-up efforts.
In short, many did what they could to help. And that Good Samaritan spirit continues in all aspects of everyday life. When Glen Gresly suffered a medical emergency and drove his truck into Garland Canal, bystanders on the scene didn’t hesitate to jump in and pull the unconscious driver to safety. Just this weekend, Terresa Humphries-Wadsworth completed her trek across Wyoming to promote suicide awareness and prevention. At NWC, students and members of the men’s soccer team volunteered to help with Homesteader Days clean-up last weekend, and the campus is also bringing awareness to Suicide Prevention Month by placing candles in office and residence halls windows.
The list goes on. From major contributions to the smallest everyday acts of kindness, from flying to Houston or Florida to donate time and effort, to paying for the order of the car behind you in the McDonald’s drive-thru line, folks in Powell and across the nation are proving that we truly are a country that cares about one another, regardless of the things in life that continue to divide us.
As Houston and Florida begin the long process of rebuilding, donations are still being accepted through the American Red Cross and other relief efforts, as the costs will be massive. According to The New York Times, Congress has allocated $15 billion to hurricane relief, a drop in the bucket of what could potentially top out as a $300 billion bill. Our government will have to get creative with spending reforms, as well as deciding how and where to distribute the money they do have.
And, as always, the kindness and generosity of strangers will be more important than ever in helping those affected by these events as they struggle to begin anew.
For all that you do, Powell, we thank you.