Jack Simpson - 10/09/09
Flood 2009

I'm not telling you something you don't know, but it has been raining like the very devil around here.

Georgia is cleaning up after an estimated flood loss of over $250 million. It rained and rained for over a week at a time and many said what they experienced was incredible. A Gwinnett County Fire Captain said he had not seen flooding like this in his 22 years of service.

Ordinary citizens interviewed on television were seen explaining, "we have lost everything." Flooding touched all of us, some more than others. People lost homes and belongings, others had trouble commuting or trying to find alternate routes around closed bridges and roadways. Schools were closed and the Red Cross helped hundreds of flood victims find shelter. Power was disrupted, trees fell, residents ran for cover. Many did not realize they were in a flood zone and had no flood insurance.

Streams once meandering through quiet neighborhoods suddenly became raging and dangerous. They left their banks and entered well-manicured lawns and beautiful homes, tossing the contents hither and yon.

Vice President Joe Biden came to inspect damages and promised government aid. President Obama monitored Georgia's problems from the G-20 Summit in Pennsylvania. At least 14 counties were declared eligible for assistance.

As flood waters receded and the sun shines down upon the unfortunate, the stench of stagnant water remains. Good people from elsewhere have arrived to help their neighbors with cleaning up.

Media reports tell us church members and volunteers from other states are busy in Cobb County helping flood victims. Local citizens are pleased and tell anyone who will listen that "we don't know what we would do without these fine citizens."

Clean up after flooding is a dirty, nasty job. Some people seeing their homes destroyed and property damaged felt like sitting down and crying their eyes out.

Little wonder that they welcomed strangers with good hearts willing to assist in sweeping, tearing out wet carpets and drywall. And, not only were volunteers willing to dirty their hands with hard work, they also brought food, water and supplies with them.

God moved into the lives of these people and enabled them to pick up the pieces and move forward. People were helping people in need and it was wonderful.

This ray of sunshine had its dark cloud. In Gwinnett County, a man's car was swallowed up in a sinkhole caused by the heavy rains. Before any volunteers arrived to help him, vandals climbed down in that sinkhole, stealing his radio and tearing up his seats. Rain and flooding didn't stop criminals or deter them from their rounds.

When hard-working, God-fearing Americans face national emergencies, we can only hope the good guys outnumber the bad among us.

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Jack Simpson is a former educator, veteran, author and a law enforcement officer. His column appears each Friday.