Letter: Residents pitched in to help their neighbors
Sunday morning I packed up my chainsaw and headed to my friend’s house on Hickory Fork Road. As a resident of Gloucester during Isabel and Ernesto I knew I had witnessed Mother Nature at her worst. As I came around the pond and up the hill towards my friend’s house, I was not prepared for what I saw. The neighborhood was unrecognizable. I had driven through here the day before and now I had to come to a stop to search for my friend’s house. Isabel and Ernesto had not prepared me for the scene of destruction as I turned into my friend’s yard. Two blocks ago the azaleas are in bloom, the daffodils are fading. Here was the aftermath of an atomic blast.
Shortly after we began cutting up the trees, a truck pulling a trailer with a bobcat pulled up. The driver asked if he could help. I knew the next discussion would involve haggling over the price for his services. Instead he unloaded his bobcat and began moving the tree sections we had already cut up. When he was finished he apologized for leaving ruts in the yard.
A four-wheel pickup pulled up and the young girl in the back held up bottled water and motioned toward us. I wondered if I had brought enough cash and how much she would be charging for the water. Instead she passed out several bottles to everyone there and said she would be back later if we needed more.
Two young girls passed by the yard as we dragged branches and debris to the roadside. They asked what they could do to help and began collecting piles of trash and pieces of aluminum siding helping us clear a path.
I recall reading about people preying on disaster victims with price-gouging and phony e-mails offering aid for disaster relief, but here at the heart of ground-zero, with homes split in half, with houses pushed off their foundations and thrown into the woods, bedsheets and pieces of aluminum hanging in the trees, with the seemingly endless parade of gawkers, rubber-neckers and helicopters, there were Gloucester residents who, without asking, pitched in and helped their neighbors. Among the death and destruction, man’s willingness to help someone in need is apparently not lost. Maybe there is hope for us after all.