The true heart and soul of a close-knit community always shine in the wake of a tragedy. Everyone counts everyone else as the same and God’s commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” takes forefront.
Helping and healing supersede anything and everything else. A determination to care for the people most affected tops the list of priorities.
And the local community comes together in a special way that only they understand.
The outside help is always desperately needed and most definitely appreciated, especially when the help shows up with the specific skillsets needed.
The outpouring of love from countless people across hundreds and thousands of miles encourages those pushing through exhaustion.
It is inspiring to everyone involved to experience how those with compassionate hearts care for one another in a crisis.
While many times it is the outside teams who get the majority of credit for the work being done because they are able to think about photos and sharing information, their efforts do create momentum. Their ability to share the stories is helpful because it keeps those outside the area informed and reminded of ways they can help.
But I’m always drawn to those from the area who likely won’t get as much attention for their efforts. They are purely focused on how to help each other survive what has just taken place.
Whatever the tragedy may be, the local community members are connected because of geography but also for so many more reasons. It might be family relationships or close friendships. It could be church membership, serving with the same community organization or being part of the same school.
When the March 3 tornado hit Beauregard in rural Lee County, the community spirit didn’t fail.
Church volunteers, school officials, business leaders and service providers of all types were on the move immediately. They combined forces to organize, divide and conquer; and the community is the better for it.
One resident described how she could hear sirens in the near distance even as she huddled in her closet while the deadly storm passed over.
The volunteer fire department was already running when the strike happened, she said.
Another resident who survived the storm happened to be taking an afternoon nap when it hit. She didn’t realize what had happened at first. But her son, who lives more than three hours away, was watching news reports of the devastation in the area and couldn’t get her to answer the phone. After a few minutes the son knew just who to call and those friends didn’t hesitate to make their way to his mother’s home to check on her.
The stories of neighbor helping neighbor as well as the depth of pain from the loss are countless.
Once the shock and initial relief efforts settle down, life will find routine again even amid the flattened and debris-littered landscape. And the hearts and souls of the Beauregard community will forever be bonded.