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I have heard “thank you” all week from American Red Cross representatives, whether volunteers or staff, the mayor and his office, the fire chief, and many other organizations. I have only one thing to say. Thank you.
I never lost power in my house so I never lost anything. The biggest inconvenience was no television. When I volunteered I was looking for something to do until my TV came back on. The shelter took care of that need, for I worked every day it was open. I hope this experience remains with me forever.
I volunteered to help prepare meals for those in the emergency shelter at Pritchard Community Center. Through the kitchen window there I watched as volunteers came, sat and listened to our residents tell their stories as if these volunteers had all the time in the world. Lots of these volunteers were coping with the ice storm damage themselves.
I watched EMS workers, fire department crew and police officers who had rescued the elderly, the disabled, etc., from their homes, drop by to see how the rescued were doing.
I saw Red Cross staff on their way to put out other fires smile and pat or hug some of the residents at the shelter. I saw the mayor and his wife take time to check on the residents almost daily. Those who came did so with a caring heart and our residents were strengthened.
Thanks to America’s Second Harvest we were able to prepare hot meals from the very start in the kitchen at Pritchard. What a worthwhile organization. Through the kitchen came produce companies, restaurants, meat companies, grocery stores, etc., bringing baked potatoes, pizzas, fresh fruit, meats, vegetables, frozen entrees, desserts or whatever we needed. The fish and bread multiplied many times over.
I never carried a heavy pot nor washed a dish. Someone was always there. The residents of the shelter always were willing to assist. Some came back to help when their lights came on.
Everyone has a story of this disaster and I have mine. My story is: The disaster happened, people came together to help one another no matter the age, the culture or the circumstances. The “quiet majority” American came without fanfare. They gave the give of love … the greatest gift of all.
Working for whom?
I read Debbie Bayles’ response to my letter with interest. To say the least, it was not what I was expecting. Her answer, to my letter outlining the litany of woes that are gripping the nation as a result of George Bush and his Republican cronies, focused on a peripheral issue of free speech and consisted of a rambling laundry list of complaints about the alleged actions of Democrats in the last election, culminating with a reference to a group of Democratic congressmen starting a petition about something Rush Limbaugh said. If Rush had a right to say what he said, wouldn’t the Constitution guarantee the other side the right to start a petition in response? A petition is the very essence and perfect example of free speech. Since Rush was able to say that he hoped Obama failed, on the day of his inauguration, it looks like he weathered the storm pretty well, too.
I know why the Republicans chose to focus on a minor point in my last letter, because it is the least painful topic contained therein Unfortunately, ignoring a problem, doesn’t make it go away. The fact remains the Bush administration plunged the country into a recession that continues to grow, adding 598,000 Americans to the ranks of the unemployed in January, alone. If you think your congressman is working on a solution, think again. Our Republican Congressman, Brett Guthrie, voted against the stimulus package in a show of party solidarity. And I bet you thought he was going to Washington to help us.
Sherry Keith Kelley