Hurricane Katrina hits close to home for many

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 7, 2005

You can’t escape the horrifying reports of destruction and lives unraveled in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The news just keeps coming; by some accounts, much more quickly than the help is.

Consider yourself immensely fortunate if the lives of your family, your sisters, your uncles and friends were not directly impacted by the storm.

Most can’t say that. People are looking for shelter, searching for clothing and sustenance and beginning to (or perhaps hoping to someday) rebuild their lives.

Those displaced by the storm are scattered from Houston to Virginia and right here in Shelby County. If you have been to a grocery store or shopping center in the last several days, you have more than likely heard accents not common to our community; that distinct, warm and charming accent of the bayous and parishes of the Gulf Coast. I heard such an accent this past Monday.

A gentleman hailing from just east of New Orleans was shopping for the basic necessities of life with his brother and three children. His home had been destroyed.

Family photos and the afghan knitted by his grandmother lost in the storm’s rage. He and his family got out with their lives and felt fortunate.

Paramount on his shopping list the day I met him was a tent large enough for the entire group to call home; for how long he did not know.

Individuals, churches and groups across our county are lending assistance to people like the gentleman I met. Their generosity and care are inspiring. Meals to eat. School supplies for children.

Clothes to wear. Medical care. A place to sleep.

The needs are simple by some measure, but for those displaced by the storm, meeting same is their only means of survival. Our community has recognized those needs and they are helping.

No one knows just how long the need will continue but by all estimates it will last for some time.

If you happen to hear an accent in your daily comings and goings that strikes your ear as unique, take time to introduce yourself and welcome our new neighbors to the community.

Take to heart their story and plight; doing so will remind you of the strength of the human spirit and just how fortunate we are.

Lend a hand if you can.