• 50°

Getting a second wind after Florence

StarNews of Wilmington

A friend recently asked if the response to Florence had been adequate. We said yes, at least in the immediate aftermath. And that response is continuing, as thousands of people still are in crisis. But we added that, in our experience, the toughest challenges can come when the storm is out of the headlines and life is starting to feel normal again for many.

That’s why we need a strong, sustained second wind, not only in our actual recovery work, but in ensuring we don’t let Florence’s ongoing impact slip too far from our minds — or from the priorities of our elected leaders.

Tales of dramatic rescues and strangers helping strangers are important and need to be celebrated. Filling out FEMA paperwork and trying to get back into a flooded home — or find a new one altogether — doesn’t make for such compelling stories, but that part of responding to the storm is just as important.

We also know from experience that hurricanes and flooding take an especially heavy toll on people who already are vulnerable — the poor, elderly, disabled and those with chronic health problems come to mind. Wind and water don’t discriminate, but the circumstances people and communities were in before the storm does.

As we try to move forward, it will be easy for some of those vulnerable people and places to slip through the cracks. It’s impossible for a disaster-recovery effort to meet every need, but we should try our best to reach out to those who have less means or ability to help themselves. Whether or not we do so will say a lot about the character of our cities, towns and state.

As Florence was making a beeline for Cape Fear, we used this space to urge a renewed sense of unity, patience and goodwill. Since then, we’ve seen all three in abundance. But we noted, too, that those qualities seem to come naturally in a crisis. As we begin recovery, all three will be just as essential but likely harder to muster and maintain.

So let’s take a breath, get that needed (if unfortunately named) second wind, and get back to work. Breathe deeply and, if you can, find a way to help. There is much to be done, and will be for a long time.

Comments

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County

College

Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park

Lifestyle

History is a great teacher: Farming has helped shape Rowan County

Business

‘A safe place for them’: Timeless Wigs and Marvelous Things celebrates fifth anniversary

China Grove

County will hear request for more tree houses, hobbit-style homes in China Grove

Coronavirus

Livingstone College partners with Health Department to administer 500 Pfizer vaccinations

Education

‘Elite and it shows’: Staff at Partners in Learning at Novant celebrate news of national accreditation

Business

Biz Roundup: Food Lion earns Energy Star award for 20th consecutive year

Columns

Ester Marsh: What body type are you?

Nation/World

The queen says goodbye to Philip, continues her reign alone

Nation/World

Worldwide COVID-19 death toll tops a staggering 3 million

Nation/World

US, China agree to cooperate on climate crisis with urgency

Nation/World

Sikh community calls for gun reforms after FedEx shooting

High School

North Rowan romps into second round of football playoffs

Nation/World

FBI had interviewed former FedEx employee who killed eight

Crime

Gastonia man sentenced for crash into restaurant that killed his daughter, daughter-in-law

Nation/World

Some call for charges after video of police shooting 13-year-old in Chicago

Business

State unemployment rate falls to 5.2% in March

Coronavirus

NASCAR approach to virus vaccine varies greatly

News

Judge rejects Cherokee challenge against new casino in Kings Mountain

Elections

Jackson tops NC Senate fundraising; Walker coffers also full

Local

Kiwanis Pancake Festival serves thousands of flapjacks for charity

Coronavirus

Rowan remains in state’s middle, yellow tier for COVID-19 community spread