As a life-long resident of New Orleans who witnessed first-hand the devastating impacts of hurricane Katrina, I would like to let the people of West Virginia know that they are not forgotten and that they are in my thoughts and prayers. Pictures and words alone cannot begin to tell the story of suffering our fellow Americans are going through following the recent deadly floods. To them it must seem that America does not care given how little attention has been given to this tragedy and suffering. Yet, as we learned in New Orleans and all along the Gulf Coast after Katrina, people do care and now is the time for us to show it. Right now there are scores of relief workers-fellow West Virginians and people from other places- tirelessly helping the community dig out, but they need our support.
Looking at some of the images reminds me of the painful memories just after Hurricane Katrina where so many people that I know lost everything they owned and some even died. Water up to rooftops, listening for voices trapped in attics, the stench, the shock, fear and anger in the faces of my fellow New Orleaninans are just some of the experiences and memories that forever changed my life. For them it will undoubtedly be the same. Where would we be had it not been for the thousands of volunteers who descended upon our communities to help us dig out in our time of need?
I have been asking my friends not to forget West Virginia by making a contribution of any amount to this relief effort by the Keeper of the Mountain Foundation. Providing hot meals to the community and relief workers is key for any community to recover from a disaster such as what the people of West Virginia are currently going through. It’s important for health and important for morale.
New Orleanians and Gulf coast residents would do well to remember that if it was not for the love from people from around the nation and the world coming to lend us a helping hand and assist in our recovery, who knows where we would be today. West Virginia deserves the same love and support.
West Virginians, remember you are a strong people with a strong spirit. What proved to be unbreakable in New Orleans is our unwavering Spirit. For many of you the coming days, weeks, months and even years will be very difficult even seemingly impossible to get through. Please know that with your strength, the support of others, your spirit, and love for each other, it can and will get better.
Please make a donation to support the West Virginia relief effort by visiting the Keeper of the Mountain donation page.
Jonathan Henderson, Vanishing Earth.