It Takes A Village
Nobody Can Do Everything, But Everyone Can Do Something
article by Cindy G. Foust | photo by Gaeb Cardinale
So, I had this column written two weeks ago on a completely different subject and changed my mind last minute about what I wanted to write about. Well, okay, that’s not entirely true, maybe I didn’t have it written, but I did know what I wanted write about.
Sadly, however, I’m starting this month’s column with another heavy heart. Seems like I have had a lot of those lately, but this one, well this one has pretty much affected an entire community’s heart. As I write, this time last week, our quaint Twin Cities, along with some of our closest neighboring friends, had just been inundated with more rain in ten hours that we historically see in a year’s time. The fast and furious torrential downpour caught our sleepy community by surprise and as a result, many of our neighbors have suffered catastrophic losses.
There’s a saying I keep in my desk that says “Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something.” (Author Unknown) Whoever wrote this sure knew what they were talking about, especially during times like our community has faced these last few weeks. Who could have ever predicted the devastation this area would suffer in what many consider to have been an ambush by Mother Nature? Sure, we have had our share of unpredictable weather forecasts, and just five short years ago this author’s business suffered greatly at the unmerciful hand of Mother Nature when my own office lay in ruins under three feet of water. I’m telling you, it’s a dark time.
And such is the case again, five years later, when much of the landscape we love and travel everyday has been demolished and destroyed. Homes, businesses, highways, bridges, wildlife, vegetation, vehicles, churches, schools…the list goes on and on…as the victims ranged from the very young to the elderly. But as the water began to ebb away, and the destruction became a reality, something magical began to happen.
This magic had nothing to do with sorcerers and magic wands however, but more to do with ordinary people becoming extraordinary citizens. As quickly as that horrendous rain storm descended on our great community, these extraordinary citizens responded in the same lightening bolt fashion, and unlike the merciless and uncaring winds and rain, these good people went to work with caring hearts and the kindest spirits. And when I say went to work, I mean they began to put the legs back under this community. Clean-up crews were assembled; rescue missions were organized; benevolence funds were tapped into; meals were prepared (for the masses) and delivered; donations were made for everything from cleaning supplies to grooming products; and the list goes on and on. Suddenly, everyone was doing something.
There were no age limits – from the youngest of citizens to the oldest, from the busiest to the retired, it has truly been a hands-on effort from these extraordinary citizens who initially set out to do what they could to help, but ultimately have began the healing process for a community whose spirit had been destroyed. All you had to do was drive down an affected street or area, and see the carnage lining the streets, carnage that had just hours before, been someone’s bedroom furniture or their family photo albums. But on this same drive, you more than likely would also see neighbors helping neighbors…neighbors who had been spared the personal agony of losing not just their physical residences or their businesses, but their homes, and just wanted to help do something. No, they couldn’t do everything, but they could do something.
And as it routinely does, social media also exploded. Pictures of destruction and pictures of storm waters and pictures of washed out bridges…washed out lives.
Just as quickly as these pictures made their way to Facebook, they were quickly replaced with pictures of an entire community engaged in sandbagging. Or making sandwich bags. Or hauling off mountains of trash and debris. Or driving boats to rescue citizens or their pets. Or smoking 50 pork butt roasts. Every effort being made was important, newsworthy and critical. My Facebook feed went from recipe, recipe, “Jerry Springer” post about someone’s cheating husband, to pictures of hope and a community of ordinary citizens doing extraordinary deeds.
The crusade was large and widespread, and people from all walks of life, in every age window, were part of the movement. You know the saying, “It takes a village,” well, it has taken a village and it will continue to take a village to put these sort of Humpty Dumpty circumstances back together again, but it can and will happen.
If you are a parent of young and impressionable children or teenagers, I hope you haven’t missed this opportunity to demonstrate to your kids, through your own efforts and through the efforts and examples of others, what it means to be somebody that “can do something.” We can all have a role to play, because sadly the effects of the destruction are going to be around for a while. But just as long as it takes to put it all back together, it’s abundantly clear that those affected by this unfortunate blow by Mother Nature will not be alone. No, there are plenty of extraordinary neighbors willing to stand in the gap for the victims, for as long as it takes. And hopefully, together, as a community, one that has endured much loss and tragedy in years past, we will continue to stand arm in arm, pork butt roast to pork butt roast, until the lives and property of those affected have been restored. From this columnist and her family, our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this terrible disaster.