Saturday, September 27, 2008

Disaster Relief

Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Teams from Oregon/Washington, and Dallas,Tx, and Lindale, Tx met to work with Red Cross workers from many states at Weatgate Baptist Church.

We began the day at 6 AM with prayer.

Truck loads of equipment are unloaded.
Volunteers from many states gather to unload cans and boxes of supplies

and prepare meals using 50 gallon pots.

Pots and Pans and Dish Duty, Oh My!
Meals are loaded onto Red Cross ERVs (Emergency Response Vehicles) and taken to ten Beaumont locations. Over 7,000 meals were served each day with the numbers dwindling as homes gained electricity.

In the times of distress people look for joy as seen on this sign posted on the door of the church where we assembled the feeding units. It reads:
Why Christmas and Hurricane Seasons are alike.
1. Houses are decorated (boarded up windows)
2. regular TV shows are pre-empted for "specials"
3. You have days off from work
4. At some point you know you're going to have a tree in your house.
We all can use a good laugh and a helping hand. What a joy it's been to work with these dedicated people and to get to know so many of them.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Everybody Has a Story

Little did I know when I spoke for the Golden Triangle Writers Guild, 9/9, that we'd be evacuating ahead of Hurricane Ike on 9/11.

I talked about journaling events, writing memiors from journals and keeping family history. Did you journal your experiences during Ike? If not, it's not too late to catch up. Your memories, empressions and reactions are important.

Update those notes.

My home was not damaged. I was blessed to be safe at my brother's in Lake Charles. The biggest challenge I faced was boredem waiting for the power to be restored.

Since returning to Beaumont, I've assisted in tree and limb removal and am now working with Baptist Disaster Relief cooking meals that are served by the Red Cross.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Gustov? Evacuate for Ike?

Gustov was on everyone's mind. Stay or evacuate. Now we wait for Ike. Has it been a week ago that I got the RV packed? Mother, who will soon be 90, Sassie the collie and Frizbee the cat and I left Sat. at noon for Kilgore. Sunday we drove to Mother's sister's in southwest Missouri for a "vacation". We helped her pack for her move to Kilgore. Hearing about the threat of tornados we started south on Tuesday in heavy rain.
Back in sunny Beaumont I was confronted with swarms of a gazillion love bugs.
This is the only way I found to attack those nasty critters.

The long hours on the road gave me time to contemplate how people react to stressful situations. Here are some thoughts: Denial. Deliberate. Decision.
Let's consider Gustov, then Ike.
Denial: Rita hit, will Gustov? Do we chance it? Naa... . Ike won't come here, Gustov didn't.
In challenging situations do we first deny that we could personally be affected?
Deliberate: What if? What if Ike follows Katrina or Rita? Eveybody shares stories of their worst experiences: traffic jambs, power outages, fallen trees, homes damaged. Naaa.. it'll be another false alarm, or will it? Pros/cons. Should have and didn't. Didn't and should have.
Perhaps we should buy batteries and bottled water, just in case. Most won't want to evacuate again. Will you?
Decision: Action. (Or inaction). Planning and preparation based on past experiences. Once a decision is made and action is taken we have a temporary relief of doing something, anything. Even if we drive for days and the hurricanae takes a welcome detour.
Results maybe exhaustion and frustration, or relief.
And the cycle goes on, next hurricane season or Hurricane Ike.

Now if only I'd had my tape recorder so I could "write" while on the road.