Journal-Times (Grayson, KY)


March 21, 2012

Disasters bring out best and worst

March 21, 2012 —     Why is it that disasters like this month’s tornadoes always seem to bring out the best and worst in us?

    Worst: The dust had not settled on smashed homes in the Woodsbend area of Morgan County when would-be looters showed up to pilfer the scattered belongings of the victims, including five who died in the vicious storm.

    Best: The Woodsbend neighbors who didn’t lose their homes chased away those intruders and stood guard over the wreckage until security could be established. We believe a load of buckshot in someone’s behind would have been in order.

    Worst: A man masquerading as a Red Cross shelter worker was arrested by Kentucky State Police after loading his vehicle with $150 worth of food intended for storm evacuees.

    Best: Volunteers worked around the clock for nearly two weeks to prepare hot meals for storm victims and emergency workers. Citizens untouched by the disaster opened their hearts and bank accounts to support the feeding projects.

    Worst: Curious sightseers, characterized as “rubberneckers”, continually clogged the roads into West Liberty, often interfering with medical and rescue workers and utility crews trying to restore power and phone service.

    Best: Citizen-soldiers of the Kentucky Army National Guard left their homes and families to travel to Morgan and other counties to help manage traffic and to secure the property of those impacted by the EF-3 tornado. Carter County first responders did the same.

    Worst: The powerful winds, estimated at 140 miles per hour, snapped virtually every utility pole in West Liberty and toppled nearly every cellphone tower. Yet, within 24 hours of the storm, some local residents were complaining that their utility providers were not responsive.

    Best: Employees of the two power companies and the telephone company worked around the clock in terrible weather, even snow, to replace power poles and repair cell towers in record time.

    Worst: The county school superintendent was wrongly criticized when the Red Cross, not the school district, closed a shelter in an elementary school and moved it to a church in order for continue to house the homeless when school resumed this week.

    Best: Nearly 300 students who previously attended a demolished elementary school went to a new school this week, thanks to a group of out-of-town volunteers who built classrooms in a vacant factory.

    Yep, we still have a few bad apples in our barrel but they are vastly outnumbered by those of us who love our neighbors, even if we’ve never met.

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