About 72 hours ago, West Virginia, parts of Ohio and Virginia got hit by a derecho (I had no idea there was a word for it) with straight line winds of nearly 80 miles per hour. It toppled trees, downed power lines and generally made a mess of the place.
The biggest upside to not having any power has been that I have seen an incredible number of fireflies the last few nights. The neighborhood has been totally dark. The downsides are obvious. As a culture we just aren’t set up to survive without electricity. Our homes are built around it.
On Saturday, I was thinking that I was proud of how people were pulling together. There were no disaster stories of people screaming for FEMA and looking for someone to help them. Since then, unfortunately, I’ve heard a few stories of people acting selfish, stealing generators or even throwing spoiled food on electric company workers trying to restore power. I’m sure those are isolated cases. They are definitely not representative of the people I’ve run across. It raises the question in my mind that since there is a federal state of emergency, does committing a crime such as stealing a generator become a federal crime?
On the whole though, I’ve been impressed. The situation has been difficult, but people have pulled together and helped each other out. And that has made me very proud of my neighbors, in the broadest sense of the term. Republican, democrat, whatever, it hasn’t mattered these last few days. People are doing what they can for each other.
Every time I see a power company truck, either local or out of state, I give them a thumbs up and say thank you when I can. Those guys are working their tails off. We tried to cook them some hotdogs for lunch today but couldn’t find any unspoiled.
As I said, I’m proud of my fellow West Virginians. In tough times, it is all about helping each other.
Update: Just a few hours after posting this, my power came back on. I was extremely grateful, but am still very aware that others are still without power, nearly seven days later. It is a long, slow, difficult process and I am still praying for the men and women who are working in extreme heat to get everyone back on the grid.