We had a major wind storm on Tuesdays, which resulted in more than 180,000 homes being without power. Even now, more than two days later, around 100,000 people are still without electricity. My husband, an employee for the utility company, came home this evening after working a 36-hour shift. He was nearly comatose with exhaustion. He told me of 200-foot trees with trunks too large for him to hug falling over, splitting homes in half. He spoke of streets where nearly a dozen power-poles were decimated, splintering into millions of pieces, leaving power lines strewn across lawns, cars, and debris-filled yards. The linemen scrambled to keep people away from live wires while installing new poles, clearing streets, and repairing millions upon millions of dollars in damage.
While my husband was on task helping to fix the immediate needs of the community, I decided to roll up my sleeves and work on the individuals. I was one of the lucky ones who witnessed her lights flickering only once, and lost a single shingle off her roof. My neighbor across the street lost nearly half his shingles, another 2 blocks down had a 100 year-old pine tree rupture half-way up the trunk and topple onto the street. Every single one of our schools lost power. Entire sections of town were pitch-dark and eerily quiet.
I washed all the sheets on all our beds, ran to the store bright and early to stock our shelves for extra mouths to feed, filled the Suburban with gas to drive around town, then called my Relief Society President, the Bishop, and one of our Elders Quorum Presidency to see who needed help.
Next I got onto Facebook, messaged several friends, called nearby family, visited my neighbors, and texted anyone else I could think of.
I'd like to say that I was able to help dozens of families by offering them a warm place to stay, and a home-cooked meal. I wish I could tell tales of wonderful deeds I'd done to touch the lives of those temporarily in need. But you know what? I do not have a single story to tell. Instead, I can say I tried. I was willing to help, but apparently 7:00 am the day after a storm is too long to wait. Not a single person needed a warm place to stay. They already had arrangements made, or were prepared in their own way. No one needed a home cooked meal, or someplace to bring their kiddos to stave off boredom.
Our area was good. I was not the only person to chip in and offer assistance. Our ward members all pitched in, called everyone on their home teaching and visiting teaching lists to make sure each family was cared for.
Although I do not have any heart-tugging humanitarian stories to announce, I am happy to report that there are also no heart-wrenching stories of people forgotten, or left to freeze and starve.
It warms my heart to see us come together in the midst of chaos, and to care for those who need it. All too often we read of the tragedies that befall us or of the evil of those around us. But today I offer up happiness and relief. Maybe last week's lesson on caring for the poor an needy was heeded after all. Well done, Spokanites.