News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 14, 2008

Tribune-Star editorial: A day to be grateful for community kindness

Obviously, it’s been a long, trying week for most folks in the Wabash Valley.

Today offers at least a moment for the community to reflect on its survival of the flood of 2008. That rumination may happen at a Father’s Day gathering, in a church pew or in a breakfast shop booth. Some people might be wearing clothes lent by a friend or purchased at Goodwill after floodwaters ruined their own. Others may be on Day 7 of a temporary stay in a relative’s guest room, while awaiting repairs to their soaked apartment.

Even in those predicaments, there are reasons to say, “Thank you” today.

Be thankful for acts of generosity during the past week. A dad whose Prairieton home and garage got drenched by flash flooding described such a deed. After he and his family made it out of their flooded neighborhood, they drove to a fast-food restaurant in Terre Haute. Once they’d ordered and pulled up to the drive-through window, the dad realized his wallet was back at their house. The teenage girl working the drive-through called her manager, and then gave the family their food, free.

“That just made my day,” the dad said.

Be thankful for the sandbaggers, from the National Guardsmen to strangers from neighborhoods on the other side of Vigo County.

Be thankful for the rescuers, from municipal and volunteer fire departments to neighbors with boats, tractors and trucks.

Be thankful for the cleanup crews, both those paid to scrub flood-damaged dwellings and volunteer groups from churches, the local colleges and service organizations.

Be thankful for the utility crews who work in risky conditions to restore gas, electrical and telephone services.

Be thankful for access to car rentals, home-repair stores and motels, even if the scope of this calamity caused a frustratingly long wait.

Be thankful that through devastating property losses, no lives were lost locally in the floods.

Undoubtedly, the recovery process will be lengthy, costly and difficult. Yet, if we remember all of the community’s assets that helped us make it through the worst of this event, the obstacles to that recovery won’t seem so large.