Letters for 09-14-2017

Returning the favor by helping others
For many residents of Union Parish, the
reminders are very personal.
Two weeks ago, the world watched as
Hurricane Harvey dumped record amounts
of rainfall into areas across southwest Texas.
As the week began, we were again
watching as Hurricane Irma moved up the
Florida peninsula, bringing flooding and wind
damage to the state.
In March 2016, 24 inches of rain in and
around Union Parish pushed the level of lake
D’Arbonne eight feet in just over 48 hours,
causing flood damage to hundreds of homes.
The response to flooding here last year
was bolstered by lessons learned in FEMA’s
responses – or the lack thereof – to damages
in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina
in 2005.
An even greater benefit in the fight here
last year, and one that has been seen in
other efforts since, is the assistance of local
residents helping their neighbors through
difficult times.
A FEMA employee who came to aid
in the local recovery effort following last
March’s flooding said he had never in his
30-year career seen a community rally
to help one another as he’d seen here.
Hometown Heroes sprang into action,
providing hundreds of sawhorses that
allowed countless homeowners to get their
furniture and other belongings above the
rising waters. In the weeks and months that
followed, the Heroes also helped scores of
families begin the road to recovery through
efforts to remove flood damaged flooring and
walls from their homes.
Six months later, when the Baton Rouge
area was also hammered by torrential rains,
what became know as the Cajun Navy sprang
into action, rescuing thousands of victims of
flooded homes.
Even as Harvey was raging across
southwest Texas, the Cajun Navy headed into
the storm. And volunteers from Hometown
Heroes headed south to help as well.
Churches and organizations in Union
Parish also sprung into action collecting
supplies that have been sent to southwest
Texas. Even though the impacted area isn’t as
near our area as Harvey was, we feel certain
similar efforts will be undertaken to help
residents of Florida.
We encourage you to support those
efforts. Donate items to disaster relief. If
you’re able, contribute money to causes like
The Salvation Army or Samaritan’s Purse or
find local organizations in each impacted
area to help insure your contributions will go
directly to aid recovery.
And pray. Without ceasing.
Though the waters will recede, the
recovery effort will for many last for months
and years. Without help from people they
don’t know and a God they can know, it will
be too much for many.