I can’t remember any other time when something I’ve written in my weekly column or blog became so outdated so quickly. But it was just last week that I wrote, “Hurricane Harvey is the most recent storm to wreak havoc on everyone in and beyond its path.”

That’s no longer true. Hurricane Irma, which has already done horrendous damage and is set to hit southern Florida by tonight, now has that dubious distinction.

Like many people in the Southeast and throughout the country, we’ve had our TV and radio stations continuously tuned in to the weather. We’ve watched and listened to a seemingly endless number of meteorologists, journalists, law enforcement officials and government leaders speaking out about the hurricane, and informing everyone of what they need to do and where they need to go to seek shelter from the storm.

Out of all of these, there’s one person in particular whom I’ve found to be the greatest source of comfort, in addition to information and advice. That is Florida’s governor, Rick Scott. I appreciated hearing him talk about specific actions he has taken, and detailed requests he has made for assistance from the federal government, as well as from officials and organizations throughout Florida and neighboring states. I was impressed and comforted by hearing him asking evacuees to be considerate of each other – such as not filling their gas tanks all the way if they were on their way to a shelter that was nearby, so that there would be enough fuel for others. And by measures such as police escorts for fuel trucks, and the suspension of tolls so that people could reach shelters more safely and quickly.

At some point, I found myself thinking, “I don’t care whether he’s a Democrat or Republican. This is someone I’d really like to see in Washington.” For the record, he’s a Republican. But the only issue that seemed to matter to him was that he was in charge of protecting people from a hurricane of unprecedented scope and power, and that had the size and strength to cover the entire state of Florida – and beyond.

I wrote last week about Harvey’s heroes, and reminded everyone that we can all help through prayers, donations, and volunteer efforts to aid the victims of the hurricane. I’ve already seen one of Irma’s heroes, and I know we will soon learn of more – people who will be risking their lives to help and rescue victims of the storm.

Let us, again, do whatever is in our power to help them.

September 8, 2017
©Betty Liedtke, 2017

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