The Washington Times-Herald

Columns

November 23, 2013

Chaos and community on Sycamore Street

I am trying to wrap my feelings about this week and the tornado that touched down in our town. There’s many.

The first was the greatness seen by ordinary individuals who came together and brought out the best in our city. First honors is to utility workers who worked to get the city back up with power. They were joined by the force of municipal employees who saw little sleep over the first 48 hours of that storm, starting the process of putting streets like Sycamore and Oak back together. The relief workers, led by the Red Cross and Salvation Army, helped find shelter for those whose homes were either demolished or soon will be in the coming days.

It cannot be understated the role city government played in getting the cleanup going.

Often on this page, various writers sometimes opine on how messed up our government is, and who is to blame for it. This was one of the times where government actually worked. Local, state and even federal government working in concert to come up with a strategy to combat the chaos from a tornado’s touch.

When we first started posting updates on our website and social media platforms, the first comments I started to see was “How can I help?” At first, I started wondering how this outpouring would actually work, but over 600 volunteers from not just Daviess County, but counties all over southwest Indiana, and from states all over came to clean up the debris from the tornado. It would be an understatement to say how much this city owes these volunteers.

This week, local minister Christopher Wiles introduced me to a couple from Henryville who came and volunteered. The couple, whom Wiles met while helping that town through its tornado ordeal a year before, knew what many of the families were going through. They came to help pay it back. There are many stories of groups of friends, neighbors, children and even strangers helping one another this week. If anything, seeing what happened on Sycamore Street restores my sense of community.

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