We have opportunity to help hurricane victims in Texas

Published 12:18 am Sunday, August 27, 2017

All eyes — particularly in the South — were on the Texas Gulf Coast this week as Hurricane Harvey plowed ashore.

Hurricanes are powerful and sometimes frightening forces of nature, but they also have an almost magical effect on the people nearby, an effect that makes them want to help others.

The eyes on the problem can quickly become hearts working on the solution.

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The fate of those in Harvey’s path is just unfolding as rescuers search areas with heavy damage and emergency response crews await the anticipating, widespread flooding to come as the remnants of the storm linger.

Our community has had more than its fair share of experience with hurricanes. Fortunately, being located miles and miles inland means we do not experience the storm surge and powerfully destructive winds that our Gulf Coast neighbors receive.

But torrential rainfall, long power outages and an influx of evacuees are familiar to our community.

Almost exactly 12 years ago, Hurricane Katrina roared ashore on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, leaving utter destruction in its wake and subsequently drowning large portions of New Orleans. Katrina was followed just weeks later by Hurricane Rita which ripped through the middle of Louisiana.

Both of those storms had significant impact on our community, but the impact was less physical damage and more people overflow. Thousands of evacuees either sought shelter here or assistance after the storm.

Natchez area residents opened their doors and hearts to those who were in need. Individuals and churches spent long, countless hours devoted to providing care for those in need. In addition, residents donated thousands and thousands of dollars to charitable causes aimed at helping hurricane victims.

The fascinating thing about disaster recovery is how incredibly fast all of the good things about humanity can quickly come to the surface.

Life’s other problems seem to melt.

The myriad of things that typically divide us become almost invisible.

When you need help, you don’t care if the person bringing it to you is a Democrat or Republican, is black or white, rich or poor. Help is help and neighbors in need are neighbors in need. Period.

Our community has seen witness to this first-hand with disasters large and small.

It’s one of our better traits — that we will set aside differences and help one another in need.

As we digest the continuing coverage of the unfolding disaster in Texas, we all have a unique opportunity to help.

For some people that opportunity to help may be simply donating money to the relief.

For others, it may be prayer.

Others may have the desire to physically help and join what likely will be dozens of boots-on-the-ground relief projects aiming to help.

However you feel called or able to help, please do so.

No doubt our community’s generosity will certainly be evident in the relief effort in Texas.

We know that our community could be the next victims of a natural disaster, and we only wish if that occurs that others will stop their lives, donate their time and money to help us.

As the old saying goes, “There but by the grace of God go I.”

God bless the people of Texas this week — and all of those volunteering to help them as well.
Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Natchez Democrat. He can be reached at 601-445-3539 or kevin.cooper@natchezdemocrat.com.