08/31/05 — Shared tempest: Gulf hurricane reminds us to be prepared — and ready to help

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Shared tempest: Gulf hurricane reminds us to be prepared — and ready to help

Eastern North Carolina is no stranger to the devastation a hurricane can bring.

So, now that the numbers are coming in from Hurricane Katrina, and we are seeing the damage this storm left all along the Gulf Coast, there are a couple of thoughts we ought to consider as we continue through hurricane season.

First off, preparedness.

There isn’t much time to organize volunteers and find people to help evacuate, treat the sick and injured or otherwise participate in relief efforts when a hurricane or tropical storm is bearing down on your community.

The Wayne County chapter of the American Red Cross is offering training courses right now to get volunteers in place and ready just in case.

If you have always wanted to volunteer, now is the time. A few minutes of training now could save someone’s life later.

This community has already demonstrated just how strong it is in emergencies. There is no doubt that when the time comes, there will be plenty of people ready and willing to help their neighbors. Getting a few people in place now, and getting them the training they need early, will only make those efforts stronger.

Second, we should think about helping others.

For many Mississippi and Louisiana families, the passing of the hurricane left grief and panic. They have no homes, no prospects for repair and no place to turn to start again.

Donations to national relief efforts will bring hope to many of these families during what must be an extremely difficult time. Even $5 would make a difference. For those of us who can’t be there in person to assist, the donation says we care.

The Gulf Coast will recover from Hurricane Katrina. But now is the time for all of us to think about how lucky we are, and to see just how much we can do for those whose lives have been changed forever.

It is called paying it forward.

Published in Editorials on August 31, 2005 10:04 AM