Thursday, September 22, 2005


A friend's story of their time in San Antonio

Now that I have rested back in (relatively) safe Boston, I'll share a small portion of my trip to San Antonio. I was down there for a national EMS educators symposium, but spent part of my time at the US Kelly Air Force base. There were 12,500 folks from New Orleans. I was working in the medical rooms. The strength that these people possessed was amazing. I saw some pretty sick people (due to stress, lack of medication, etc) but the biggest need that the folks that I dealt with was just wanting to talk and have someone, anyone, hear their stories.
Many of them had been relocated to the Superdome. Those stories were frustrating and violent. They were grateful to now only be sleeping in safe rooms with a couple of hundred others. Food was now plentiful, new clothing, shoes and bedding had been donated so that they had comfort. One man was living with his sister in a very small house. She had taken in 39 of her family members from the New Orleans area.
These people, many of which hadn't known each other prior to this catastrophic event, were going out of their way to make sure their new, temporary neighbors were getting an equal share of everything that was offered including medical care, food, whatever.
The biggest thing I learned from my 2 shifts with these wonderful folks was that people are like tea bags. You don't know their strength until they're dipped in hot water.
Make sure that whatever you give toward the Katrina situation goes to a reputable site. I can tell you that Jet Blue flew thousands of people toward safety for free and that New Balance gave thousands of pairs of sneakers. Walmart also gave and gave. It's nice to know that in a pinch, there are some wonderful, giving people out there.

Many thanks to B.V. for the permission to post this

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