Thank You From Mississippi

September 01, 2015
Mary Kim Smith

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Everyone remembers the world changing event that happened 10 years ago. Hurricane Katrina came ashore in Hancock County, Mississippi during the darkness of the early morning on Monday, August 29, 2005, along with unbelievable devastation and destruction.

Our family had the honor of being public servants during that period of time, my husband served in the Mississippi State Legislature and I was the Vice Chairman of the State Board of Health. As the storm approached, we received reports from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency indicating that one by one the buoys were being destroyed in the Gulf of Mexico by the unimaginable magnitude of the storm surge and wave height.

We heard the audio reports at the command center from First Responders on the ground as ambulances sat helplessly stranded bumper to bumper around the little hospital in Bay Saint Louis and shared fear as the wind driven surge threated to breech the Ross Barnett Reservoir levy almost 200 miles inland, in our neighborhood here in Jackson. These are all very sad and vivid memories…..

I’m surprised after so much time has passed that remembering those events and emotions still causes tears to flow down my cheeks. As traumatic as that time was, the numbness following the storm quickly gave way to beautiful examples of love and compassion by total strangers from all over the country.

People came from everywhere bringing trucks full of food, clothing and supplies. They came by the thousands just to help a stranger in need. Power trucks came in caravans that stretched for miles and miles. People stopped their cars on the side of the highway or stood on their front porches with handmade signs that just said, “Thank You!” Strength grew in the face of weakness.

Those of us in the culture change community teach that the antidote to helplessness is giving as well as receiving care. After Katrina our part of the country received so much care and loving companionship that we can never fully repay the generosity and kindness of so many who came to our rescue. After 10 years, the best way for all of us to remember this life changing event is to try to replicate the acts of selfless giving, unconditional love for others, and genuine human compassion in our day to day lives. We will always be grateful and hopefully will be able to repay the kindness shown to all of us by teaching others the Art of Caring.

Thank you from Mississippi.

 

 

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