Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Power of Community

Labor Day of 2015 is a weekend that I will remember for the rest of my life. It was a weekend that reiterated to me a very important lesson that many of us take for granted, the importance of your community. 

For a majority of the American population, Labor Day weekend is typically the final celebration of summer. Where family, friends, and neighbors gather together to relax, grill out, and enjoy the outdoors before the chill of the coming winter begins to creep in. Unfortunately, our neighborhood was unable to enjoy such pleasantries due to a microburst that hit on Friday evening just before sunset. For those who are unfamiliar, a microburst is a column of air that flows straight down and then spreads out in all directions and is capable of producing winds of over 100mph.

When the microburst hit, my wife and I were at our neighbor’s house preparing to engage in our planned Labor Day festivities of grilling out and enjoying a few beers. Instead we watched in horror as large oak trees were uprooted and thrown around as if they were toothpicks. Fortunately no one was injured, however, several houses and other structures were severely damaged. 

As soon as the winds subsided many neighbors, including myself, ventured outside into the still driving rain to check on our neighbors wellbeing and offer assistance to those that needed it. Half an hour later, the rain stopped, and the entire neighborhood was out in force, helping one another. They showed up with buckets, mops, tarps, wheelbarrows, chainsaws; and a plethora of other items. Often first introducing themselves to their neighbor for the first time, and then immediately offering to help in any way that they could.

It was an extremely frightening and traumatic experience for everyone in our little neighborhood, but in the end it brought us closer together and provided proof to us all of the importance of community. 

I truly believe that we all need to place more importance on getting to know our neighbors, because community is a truly powerful thing.