The thoughts and prayers of everyone in Sumter go out to the people of southeast Texas struck by Hurricane Harvey. I have expressed the support of our community to Mayor Sylvester Turner of Houston, Mayor C.J. Wax of Rockport, Mayor Jim Yarbrough of Galveston, Mayor Paul Polasek of Victoria, and Mayor Joe McComb of Corpus Christi and have offered them our help.
The disaster is ongoing in Texas, so I am not sure what we can do right now, but we are poised to assist. I am certain that some of Sumter’s emergency personnel will be sent to Texas as a part of state teams participating in rescue and recovery efforts. If our first responders can help, they will do so. I also know many Sumterites will want to offer their assistance in this time of great need. There are many ways to help and I encourage Sumterites looking to do so to research opportunities. Charity Navigator has a website that provides information about the various charities raising funds for Harvey relief. (http://bit.ly/2vDpiaX)
Almost two years ago in October, 2015, Sumter and the lower part of our state were hit with a tremendous flood. Even those of us who weathered Hurricane Hugo and its aftermath in 1989 were confronted by the impact that of being inundated by steady, hard rain for many hours and how it leaves victims with a different sort of hopelessness. With a hurricane, the winds subside and then you generally begin the cleanup; with flooding, you cannot see the extent of the damage until the water subsides. In addition, damage form the flooding continues to appear months and even years after the flood. We in Sumter also know what it is like to be pummeled by nature more than once, as we had the “Great Flood” in 2015, Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and an ice storm in 2014, all federally declared disasters. Texas, as I recall, had extensive flooding in 2016 also; and 1900 Hurricane that struck Galveston is one of the great natural disasters to befall our country.
Sumter is a community of strong faith that knows the power of prayer. I know that churches are lifting up the leadership and citizens of Corpus Christi, Galveston, Rockport and other affected areas of Texas in prayer. I also know that these prayers will continue even as the winds subside, the waters return to normal levels, and the recovery and rebuilding efforts begin. More than that, I am certain that our faith community will step up and respond with financial and other resources to help those who have lost so many and in many cases all of their possessions.
As I said, we in Sumter have some idea of what Texas is suffering right now. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people and communities of southeast Texas and our City stands ready to help as we can.