Texas Floods Reveal Power of Volunteers

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A deluge of thunderstorms, tornadoes and flooding have ravaged parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Mexico. The severe storm front has wreaked havoc on property, frightened residents and taken more than 30 lives. On top of the tragedy of those who have lost their lives to the surging waters, others remain quite literally lost, missing amid terrible conditions that have swept across the area, making search efforts difficult.

In a sad bit of irony, an area previously plagued by drought has now taken on more water than it could possible handle. The terrifying bounty of water has washed away bridges, covered streets and affected entire neighborhoods in its unrelenting torrent. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has declared 47 counties disaster areas.

As is often the case in the wake of tragedy, hope has emerged in the form of heroes, ordinary people performing extraordinary deeds to provide aid to the missing and solace to their loved ones.

Hundreds of volunteers have descended on small towns and communities to aid the search and rescue effort. They are working to bolster the professional search teams underway in the area, taking to land, sea and air, in order to help find those who are still lost amid the floodwaters.

Many of these volunteers represent friends, relatives and coworkers of those whose whereabouts are still unknown. There are even strangers who have volunteered to help, people who have no personal ties to anyone in the community and yet have still traveled many miles because they thought they could help.

These volunteers fight dangerous conditions, loose debris, snakes and other hazards, yet they still press on. They bring with them their eyes and ears, their skills, and most importantly, their sense of hope. More than just the physical assistance which they provide through searching, they are bringing a sense of care and community to an area whose heart was all but washed away by the floodwaters. They show that no storm can ever take the spirit of perseverance away, and that no matter what the odds, there is always a chance for survival.

The psychological toll is difficult on volunteers, as well as those whose relatives and friends they search for. To wade through the wreckage, to witness the destruction and, in some cases, to discover the worst in the form of someone who has passed due to the storm, weighs heavy. This is a choice these volunteers have made selflessly, as they subject themselves to the difficulties of search and rescue work for the sake of others. This sacrifice is not to be minimized, but rather appreciated and respected.

We join those in the affected communities of Texas, Oklahoma and Mexico in mourning their loss. We applaud those volunteers who have risen to the occasion, both to help the flood victims and provide us all with an example by which to treat our fellow man. We wish them all the best, and hope along with them that when this story is told years from now, the light of those who stood against the floods will break the clouds of the storm itself.

To learn more about the tragedy, the relief efforts and to donate, visit the Red Cross today.

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