Storm’s tragedy dwarfed by community’s response

Published 8:12 am Tuesday, April 16, 2019

In this world, we are called to be the hands and feet of God. We are called to be salt, and light.

Nothing was ever more clear, nothing ever more needed than when storm clouds had passed and the size, scope and severity of Saturday’s run in with three tornadoes was left behind.

Flash flooding put lives at risk. A house fire erupted. Trees were collapsing on homes and power was vanishing from block after block.

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It was a cascade of problems that forced first responders out into the worst possible weather, and afterwards, sent public works and utility crews scrambling to clear roadways, restore basic services and ensure lives were not in danger.

Saturday’s storms were severe, but were matched — if not dwarfed — by response from our public servants and the public at large.

Shortly after businesses were damaged along Pemberton Boulevard, Vicksburg Police blocked off access, preventing unnecessary traffic or possible looters. They stayed vigilant both day and night.

Residents and churches responded to social media calls for chain saw crews to clear downed trees from yards, driveways and from atop homes and cars. Some businesses even offered services free of charge.

While many churches cancelled services Sunday, they later opened their doors later in the day for children to play and for parents to breathe. They allowed those without power to charge cell phones and make calls to loved ones.

Entergy called in everyone it could and more to begin the daunting task of restoring power — a job that proved to be far more severe than first thought.

All of this is to say that Vicksburg and Warren County is a community far stronger than any hurricane.

Saturday, we were punched in the nose and knocked down. We got up and today we are still standing; stronger for what we do in times of disaster and tragedy.

The next few days will see more severe weather and additional challenges, but those are only temporary. What will stand far longer are the bonds that tie us together and the shoulders we sometimes need to lean on.

This editorial was originally published in The Vicksburg Post newspaper.