I feel like I have been in a fictional miniseries called 96. It starts in Middletown, U.S.A., on a pleasant 60-degree day with everything pristine – and ends four days later with neighbors helping one another clean up what looks to be a war zone in the same 60-degree weather. In between, the weather has sudden temperature changes, rain, snow, ice, wind and an earthquake!
The scenes show beautiful white landscapes, then trees and branches falling; grocery stores and building supply stores being emptied; widespread power outages; and families and neighbors huddled in cold, dark homes and shelters.
You can’t write that script. No one would believe it.
Of course, we all know it happened, and we were the supporting cast. The real stars of the show, though, were those who helped everyone through this (I speak from a Richmond County perspective, but the same can be said of neighboring counties). The stars include: Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal; Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver; Augusta city commissioners and department heads; the fire department; emergency management and 911 staff; Richmond County Sheriff Richard Roundtree and
deputies; the Georgia State Patrol; Georgia Power Co. and other utility companies; the Georgia National Guard; countless health care workers; county tree and landscape employees and all the subcontracting landscape companies; and many good Samaritan neighbors. Many of these stars are nameless to us, but very much heroes!
In trying times, we discover strengths and/or weaknesses. Those four days last week were most difficult, and our strengths shined through. There still is much to do to get to normal, but if the energy, effort and cooperation of previous days continue, our city will be stronger despite this devastation.
It’s amazing how powerful we are and how much we can get done when we work together!