South county can be proud of Hurricane Katrina relief

I’ve seen it so many times in the past and never commented on it, but south county’s efforts on behalf of the victims of Hurricane Katrina is something in which we all can take pride.

Each day our office is getting calls from people who want to help Ka-trina victims get back on their feet.

Every day our e-mail turns up another spontaneous relief effort complete with pictures and narrative.

Everyone from business owners to youngsters are finding ways to help residents from the Gulf Coast who have had their lives turned upside down by the largest natural disaster in our nation’s history.

We have opened our homes to displaced families, sent firefighters and National Guard members to the disaster area and opened our schools and pocketbooks. Everywhere I go there is a jar or a boot in which to donate, and I’m doing it, gladly. Last week we published a photo of a preschooler donating to Katrina relief.

Residents here will continue to do-nate and care until long after the Ka-trina recovery is under way.

We saw the same reaction locally last December for Tsunami relief. I remember the efforts of people sandbagging throughout the entire area to hold back floodwaters in 1993.

Authorities had written off several homes along Baumgartner Road in Oakville, but homeowners there and determined residents were not going to give in to Mother Nature.

Houses that I boated to back then still are standing and still lived in thanks to the strong will and determination of the people who held on and fought back long after strength had given way to fatigue.

South county last week welcomed dozens of families who found their way here after evacuating the Gulf Coast. Those who we’ve met have been amazed at the welcome they’ve received and the generosity of the people of south county. Sometimes when you’re too close to something you don’t ever stop to appreciate what you have. People from the Gulf Coast are realizing that.

As we work to help Katrina victims, it’s a good time to stop and think about what we have and what we take for granted. We are blessed in this area to have so many good-hearted people. Of all our prized natural resources, it is, after all, people who are our greatest strength.

I should have said it before now, I should have said it more often, but south county, I’m proud of each and every one of you.