Katrina. Sandy. Harvey.

I wish I were reading those names from a list of the most popular baby names of the year. But that’s not where they came from, and there’s likely not a person in America today who doesn’t recognize what they are.

Hurricane Harvey is the most recent storm to wreak havoc on everyone in and beyond its path. I’m having a difficult time writing about it now, not because it’s such an emotional and heart-wrenching subject – although it is – but because there are no words to adequately describe it. Words like “devastation,” “destruction,” and “horrific” don’t even come close.

So I’m going to go in the other direction, and write about the heroes.

In times of overwhelming tragedies, whether they be man-made or brought on by Mother Nature, people pull together as they do at no other time, and heroes rise up among people in all walks of life. Celebrities and sports stars who make sizable donations and who encourage and motivate others to do the same. Military and medical personnel who put their own lives on the line to save the lives of others. And many ordinary people who drop whatever they’re doing in order to volunteer with relief efforts. Some of these are people who are also in harm’s way, but still do what they can for others while waiting for their own rescuers to arrive.

A few that I’ve read about in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey include workers at a bakery who were trapped at work by the floodwaters, and who spent the next few days baking bread that was then distributed to hurricane victims. Several groups of people formed human chains to rescue a pregnant woman in labor and an elderly man who was trapped in his car with water rapidly rising around him.

Those of us who weren’t in the path or the aftermath of the storm can do our part as well. Donations of money, food, clothing, and other supplies are desperately needed, and there are many organizations through which we can help and support rescue and relief efforts. It’s a small sacrifice for those of us who are offering it from the comfort and safety of our own homes. But even though it’s not as dramatic or noteworthy as many of the heroic efforts being made by others, it’s a way to help where help is needed most. It can save lives, and make heroes of us all.

That’s what happens when tragedy strikes, no matter what the circumstances are that brought it on. Because when things are at their worst, the best in us comes shining through.

September 1, 2017
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

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