I'm going to do something unusual for my usual weekly blog.
It's been almost two weeks since the devastating earthquake in Haiti.
"Why do we continue to report on Haiti?" you ask... Because it won't go away.
I've just read a first-hand account of someone who was moved to jump a plane and go help. His first-hand account is riveting. There's not much more that I can say, except to direct you to the article that he filed. So follow this link, if you dare, and see the country and what he found when he was moved to go help. This will haunt you. It's called "Text Message from Haiti"
I'm not sure this guy did the right thing. Though I admire his compassion, not all of us can "get up and go" like that.
I am reminded of another disaster several years ago in south Florida when Hurricane Andrew swept across the southern tip and wiped out Homestead, Florida. I was working at a small radio station in Athens, and several DJs wanted to go see the devastation. They mounted a truck to carry clean up supplies, arranged time off from work, and wrangled a video camera from their school to go shoot a documentary.
Now, remember these were kids in the audio track, not the video track. They had been given an S-VHS camera, not a VHS camera. The result was when they came back, nothing would play in their home VHS player. And, they had forgotten to white balance, so everything was blue...even the static. In short, NOTHING was usable. They quietly swept this under the rug.
But the continuing comments that we heard from them via phone as they neared the devastation, was dramatic: how severe and complete it was. They described it as a war zone. Without pictures, one could only imagine how total and depressing it was. And now, there were three more mouths down there to feed... to house... to shower... to use resources. Without a specific destination, they wandered through the devastation a bit until making a connection for their supplies.
I'm sure it's a trip they will never forget, but the side effects of their journey were not expected. And the lesson has not been lost on me. Whenever I get the impulse to "get up and go" to help, I remember that's why we have trained disaster workers with the American Red Cross.
One more thing. As I write this, Wendy's of the Mid-Ohio Valley are holding an American Red Cross fundraiser for Haiti relief. They are giving 10% of everything sold from 5 pm to 8 pm tonight at all their MOV restaurants to the relief effort. I applaud them. I'm going there to eat tonight. It's a small thing, but it's something I can do to help. I hope others feel the same way.
See you there.