OUR OPINION: Charities sow early seeds of recovery
"American Red Cross volunteers had an emergency shelter open by 7 p.m. at the public school in Drayton, N.D.," Wednesday's Herald reported. Why are we not surprised to learn that before many people in the region even knew that Cavalier, N.D., had...
"American Red Cross volunteers had an emergency shelter open by 7 p.m. at the public school in Drayton, N.D.," Wednesday's Herald reported.
Why are we not surprised to learn that before many people in the region even knew that Cavalier, N.D., had been evacuated, the Red Cross already had a shelter up and running?
Grand Forks and East Grand Forks residents have soft spots in their hearts for the Red Cross. Everyone who was here during the 1997 flood has a story about a Red Cross action and the difference it made, ranging from being sheltered from the elements to being given a cup of coffee when it was needed most.
The Red Cross also is featuring prominently in news stories from Oklahoma. Staff and volunteers from chapters across the country are arriving, ready to help residents "regain a sense of normalcy," as one volunteer put it.
And on Wednesday, NBA star Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder gave $1 million to the Red Cross, while comedian David Spade gave $200,000.
"When I was four, I moved from Michigan to Arizona, and our house got hit by a tornado a week later," Spade told E! News.
"Always been scared of them. I know the Red Cross will do everything they can to help people get the help they need."
In Oklahoma, between 12,000 and 13,000 homes were destroyed or damaged, said Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. That would be 2/3 of the housing stock of Grand Forks.
The need is great, in other words. But the Red Cross -- along with the Salvation Army, Lutheran Social Services, community foundations and other charitable groups -- soldiers on, one blanket and one cup of coffee at a time.
If Act I of these now-familiar dramas is the disaster itself, Act II begins with the arrival on scene of relief groups and government officials. In Oklahoma and waterlogged areas of North Dakota, that second act already is well under way.
And in both places, thanks to the robust efficiency with which Americans themselves and their charities and agencies have learned to tackle these problems, recovery will be the theme of a fully staged Act III.
-- Tom Dennis for the Herald