Letter: Gloucester prepared its residents well for the storm
My family and I relocated back to Gloucester last summer following 19 years of living in the Northeast. While we knew we would face storms during the hurricane season, we felt prepared when it was announced that Hurricane Irene was bearing down on Gloucester and the surrounding areas. While we were used to snow and ice, we listened and read what was suggested and completed each item.
The days leading up the hurricane, my husband and I noticed that unlike where we used to live, it seemed important to the community and the media that residents were prepared and took appropriate measures to remain safe. This would not have occurred in our previous state of residence. Thanks to many here, if we needed shelter, we knew which one. If we needed to park a car, RV or boat, we knew where. If we needed supplies, Lowe’s was open for business. Even grocery stores were stocking shelves quickly to ensure customers were able to purchase water, food and other emergency supplies.
Despite the fact that we thought we were prepared, my husband couldn’t resist one late-night trip to Lowe’s. One may have thought that the associates would be grumpy and ready to leave due to working long hours; however, they were outgoing, curious and willing to help. We could have been the only customers in the store, but we felt welcomed and they were glad to assist with our $12 generator issue. They even ran through a list of items that they thought we may need.
Lastly, we also appreciated the update telephone calls from the sheriff’s department and found that they added a sense of security. While the sheriff’s, fire and other emergency personnel must make difficult decisions each and every day, it was refreshing to know that they were on top of things and working to make the residents of Gloucester a priority.
I am glad that we moved back to Gloucester. In many ways it has changed considerably; however, in other ways it’s still the same safe haven where I grew up and was taught the most important thing about a place is its people. Just like after the tornado, the community embraced those most affected. Thank you to all who worked so diligently before and after the storm to prepare and to help keep us safe.
Marsha Smith Westfall