Kindness and caring are just two reasons why Texas residents are good people.
Even before Hurricane Harvey, Texas has had its share of natural disasters. Hurricanes and tornadoes strike the state with some regularity. Not to mention the floods that historically have destroyed hundreds of homes in cities that most of the country has never heard of here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Natural catastrophes always affect more than just the people they displace.
The economic impact from Hurricane Harvey is already being felt in other places in the state. The first being gasoline shortages. Real or perceived, gas lines are already happening in North Texas. If the shortages are real, the rest of the country will experience them soon.
The good Samaritans are coming from far away places such as Indiana, Washington State and even Canada but some credit needs to be given to the first responders: neighbors who were helping neighbors. They didn’t arrive at the scene, they were already there. In North Texas and elsewhere in the state, trucks were being loaded with food, clothing and medical supplies donated by Texans and headed south. They were the real first responders.
When Hurricane Sandy hit the eastern seaboard in the fall of 2012, it caused severe damage especially in New York and New Jersey. Power was out for weeks and thousands of people were homeless. Trucks were loaded with food, clothing and medical supplies donated by Texans and headed north. For weeks to come, many of us donated items to the Mission Arlington in downtown Arlington Texas. They asked Texans to help and they did.
Two-thousand six brought folks to Texas who before were living along the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida. When Hurricane Katrina struck in August of 2005, these people had no place to go. There were a lot of generous Texans who took them in and helped them find temporary quarters through donations from private charities and churches. Government assistance came all too slowly. Soon after that, Hurricane Rita hit land on September 24, 2005 and made things worse.
Being in the direct path of storms of that magnitude is unimaginable. Some were completely homeless with heart-wrenching stories. Some folks just needed refuge; others wanted a change of scenery and sunny weather after the hurricanes and floods. Many of them decided to move to Texas and many remain here still today. They asked Texans to help and they did.
The psychological effects are yet to be experienced by Harvey’s victims. The loss of a family member or their home because of flooding is shuddering but the loss of a job, a business or a career in addition is unimaginable.
I remember meeting some of the many California victims in 1990 who had experienced one too many earthquakes. They were wishing to relocate in Texas. I remember a San Francisco couple with two teenage children who were extremely affected by the earthquake in October of 1989. The father told me that since the quake, they have to know where each of them is at all times. This closeness was evident throughout our visit that day. Because of the trauma that they experienced they were now inseparable.
Hurricane Harvey moves on but leaves thousands of homeless Texans behind.
Fast-forward to now. For the past several days, the news coverage has been dedicated to the plight of thousands of people suddenly displaced, forced to leave everything behind. The political bickering has been conspicuously absent during most television and radio broadcasts but that will be short-lived. When all of the Internet videos and television file photos have been shown, the political autopsy of Hurricane Harvey is sure to begin.
Texas coastal cities have endured the “the storm that just wouldn’t end”. As in all weather catastrophes, the first responders are always the neighbors. The world has again seen a softer side of “flyover country”. Too soon they will forget. At least for a short time, the news has been “real”, not fake. How refreshing is that?
Thousands of people whose homes were not destroyed by the rising waters are going to be without electricity and other services. They will have to endure days, weeks or months in their homes without drinking water and refrigerated food. Potable water for bathing, electricity and sewer systems won’t be back in service for weeks or months.
If higher prices and long gas lines become a reality for the rest of us, surely we can cope with that.
Here’s a short clip showing the bravery and selflessness of strangers when people are in real need.
Update: Nothing will take your mind off of a damaging hurricane like another hurricane.
So she is not forgotten, earlier today I invited some of my friends and family on Facebook to donate to one of the many Hurricane Harvey victims in Houston. The invitation is for one of my sisters, Jan. She lives alone in Houston. She lost everything in the flood.
She was one of those rescued by boat. She has lost everything she possessed; her home, her car; everything (including her cellphone) She lost her cellphone while climbing into the boat.
She came back to her home and collected a few boxes of clothing and personal items and her pets. If you can afford to donate to her campaign, I would really appreciate it.
Rose Padgett and others in the Padgett family in New York have set up a GoFundMe account in her behalf. I am asking that if any of you would like to contribute to someone in need and very deserving, I would be obliged for that someone to be her. Any amount that you contribute will certainly help her.
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License No. 58