Community comes together in storm

Published 8:00 pm Sunday, September 2, 2012

It was a belated thank you Friday night.

     Seven years ago Tuesday, the fellow had gone the extra mile to locate a generator for me as the winds of Hurricane Katrina were building in the Gulf south of Pass Christian. I saw him at a local restaurant and told him how that generator was again being put to good use.

     He smiled, just as he smiled that evening in 2005. He did not have to go the extra mile five years ago, but he did.

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     Saturday morning on Storm Avenue and again on McNair Avenue, I saw that same smile as workers started unloading their trucks getting ready to begin repairing downed power lines along the streets. One group had driven from Cincinnati, Ohio, the other from Lawrenceville, Ga.

     While their families are enjoying a Labor Day weekend, these fellows are spending theirs here in Southwest Mississippi.

     It has been a long week for everyone in our community, a longer one for those farther south in areas hit harder than ours.

     “We were lucky,” someone said to me Friday afternoon. “This could have been so much worse.”

     This area did dodge a bullet; however, those still without power or severe damage to their home might disagree.

     Meanwhile, power crews are busy trying to restore normalcy that the winds and rains of Isaac blew away Wednesday night.

     The staff of The DAILY LEADER went into hurricane mode on Monday – not only planning and preparing news coverage, but also moving print deadlines for our own products and for the other newspapers we print each week.

     Ours is a responsibility we hold dear – to keep our readers and community informed. It takes the full effort of our staff and our newspaper carriers. I am proud of them all for rising to the occasion, as the LEADER was on the street each day by noon.

     Our staff, too, rose to the occasion electronically. We used our website, as well as our Facebook page and Twitter feed, to keep readers up to date as new information became available. Based on the volume of hits, likes, texts and emails over the past few days, we accomplished our goals there also.

     Friday afternoon I sat down for lunch with a group of our civic leaders and officials from Entergy.

     Each had their own stories of the good and bad of emergency management. They told of successes and frustrations and the areas needed for improvement. One common thread of the group’s discussion was the volunteer spirit of so many in the community.

     This has been a tough week for everyone in our area; some folks had it harder than others. I have heard many of the gripes and criticisms, which are expected during emergency times. But I also have heard many a comment about the random acts of kindness of neighbors helping neighbors and strangers helping strangers. It’s what makes our community so special.

     With all of the frustration in our country these days, both economically and politically, sometimes it takes Mother Nature to pull us back together to remember the importance of working for a common goal.

     Write to Bill Jacobs at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602, or send e-mail to