Time for learning from storm will come; now's the time to help


Reggie ponder lifestyles chowan herald


By Reggie Ponder

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Last week we were praying that we would be spared the worst of Florence — and we were.

Now we are praying for our neighbors to the south and beginning to collect and distribute relief supplies to help with the recovery.

Many of us have family members, friends, or friends of friends who were affected by the storm in the hard-hit areas.

Jane’s sister lives in Southport and left just before Florence hit to stay with their older sister in Cary. She’s still there now but hopes to return as soon as safe and practical.

The son of someone I know fairly well was critically injured when a tree fell on him as he was helping a neighbor in the storm’s aftermath.

A friend of several of my other friends — not someone I know but someone they know well —- was injured when he hit his head as he was helping someone out after the storm.

A number of friends have been affected by Florence’s floodwaters.

I continue to pray for these and others whose lives have been turned upside down by the storm. I’m sure many of you also are praying.

And people in this area are opening their hands and hearts to help. This week The Daily Advance has reported on a number of efforts and others continue to come to light.

It’s heartening to see this generosity.

People in northeastern North Carolina seem to be generous by nature. This certainly is a time to live out that generosity.

We did have some flooding in this area, though it was not anything like what affected people farther south.

It could have been worse here, of course. A slight change in the course of the storm would have made a big difference.

Another thing I noticed is people around here took the threat of this storm seriously. People prepared. They weren’t taking anything for granted.

It’s worth it to prepare even if the storm takes another course as it did this time. And hopefully we’re continuing to learn how to prepare even better and maybe also learning ways to respond more efficiently and effectively on behalf of those most affected.

We learned lessons from Matthew, and from Floyd and other big storms before that.

Over the next few weeks the lessons of Florence will come into sharper focus.

There’s a lot more still to learn.

For now, though, it’s enough to be grateful for not going through the worst of Florence and to be generous toward those who did.

Reggie Ponder is a staff writer for The Daily Advance.