Helping Our Neighbors
I was going to work on post about hunting dogs tonight but I keep thinking about something I saw at church this morning. There is an image that I can’t get out of my head and sharing it here seems the best way to process it.
On Friday several large tornadoes ripped through Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. At least 37 people lost their lives, including 21 in my state. Ironically, as I was rushing my family into the basement on Friday afternoon I was thinking not about what might happen to us but what had already happened to others.
About thirty minutes before sirens went off in our county, Indiana had already been hit hard. Henryville, IN is about 20 miles north of Louisville. It has gotten a lot of attention in recent days because so much of the town was devastated by what is now classified as an EF-4 and a possible second EF-3 tornado. The folks there had plenty of warning but as Gov. Mitch Daniels said, we fragile humans are “no match for Mother Nature at her worst”. Luckily very few people were hurt in Henryville but many lost their homes and businesses. All of the schools are heavily damaged. It’s simply horrible.
To my east the town of West Liberty, KY also heavily damaged and lives were lost. I have friends with family in that area. They are rushing home to help in whatever way they can. They are doing what Americans seem to do best which is to help each other in times of need. And that brings me to what I saw this morning.
Kentucky and Indiana have always had a good-natured rivalry. We tease Hoosiers for being bad drivers. They tease us for being hillbillies. We both think our states are the motherland of college basketball. In a country where state borders are perhaps antiquated but yet they still mean something, it would be understandable if we in Louisville looked east towards our fellow citizens in West Liberty and let the folks in Indiana take care of Henryville. No one would blame us. But we seem to have decided as a community that we have to take care of our neighbors first.
This morning I helped in the coffee shop at church so I walked through an empty lobby at 7am. When my shift ended at noon I saw the sight I mentioned above. This was my view from the balcony.
Relief supplies poured in this morning after volunteers spent all day Saturday making calls, sending out emails and even using the church’s Facebook page to rally support. In addition to the supplies I am told that several thousand dollars was also collected. I am positive that this scene played out in churches across our city this morning. We count our blessings that Louisville was spared this time. Our hearts ache for a small community that most of us have only seen from the freeway as we drove to somewhere else. In this tough economy I am amazed at the capacity we still have to give.
What was done this morning could have been repeated anywhere else in this country. We aren’t unique or special. It is simply our turn to help. I take an enormous amount of comfort in these moments. Whatever skepticism I feel from time to time about humanity is forgotten as I write this tonight.