This tragedy hits home

Published 12:04 am Sunday, May 2, 2010

Global disasters are often difficult for Americans to fathom. Acts of terrorism and natural disasters kill hundreds, if not thousands, of people each year.

But for most of us, those numbers are merely headlines or perhaps a blurb on the TV news.

The pain felt by the loss is dampened through the thousands of miles that separate us. The connection to those who were lost is cushioned since the faces of the dead are unfamiliar to us.

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It’s rare when one of those world tragedies hits home, fortunately.

But not quite two weeks ago a global disaster began to unravel that we now know has claimed the lives of two local men and will affect the lives of their families forever.

Wyatt Kemp of Jonesville and Karl Kleppinger Jr. of Natchez lost their lives when the oil rig on which they were working exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, eventually sinking leaving 11 workers, including the two local men, missing and presumed dead.

The two men are typical of several generations of Miss-Lou residents, who face the dangers of working in the offshore oil industry.

It’s risky business, but often one of the only avenues for young people who seek to make a decent living and still live near home.

Unfortunately, the tragedy goes far beyond the families of the two men. Hundreds of similar families whose sons, fathers and husbands work offshore have also been affected.

The fears, often discounted with the “that will never happen to me” statements of assurance, have screamed back into their minds.

Sadly, the lives of all involved will be forever affected and our community must realize this and be there to pray for and offer other support for all the families who have a loved one working offshore.