AMBROSIA NELDON: Harvey aftermath shows true American grit

Guest Columnist

(TNS) There is nothing like a disaster to bring out the best in people.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, our staff has been kept in the loop of the devastation caused, as two of our affiliate newspapers — The Port Arthur News and the Orange Leader — were impacted by this horrendous storm.

We have seen photographs and live video, heard witness accounts and read messages from our colleagues in Texas, which described the heartbreaking damage left in the path of this powerful storm.

Like the rest of America, we have watched helplessly as people waited to be rescued. We have heard horror stories of families attempting to escape the wreckage, of pets left behind as their owners sought refuge in shelters that would not take the animals.

With all of this despair, I am sure no one would fault those in the thralls of Harvey for being angry, sad or discouraged, but, as we have heard, Texans have grit. They are determined. They bunker down and band together.

Time and time again, I have been moved by the optimism of those affected and the generosity of those desperate to do whatever possible to help them.

Perhaps leading by these courageous Texans’ examples, it seems people in every corner of the country have acquired some level of that grit, determined to lend a hand and, in many cases, take the battle head on.

A number of southwest Michigan businesses served as catalysts for their communities, organizing efforts to help those affected in Texas in any way they knew how. Brian Antisdel, of Dowagiac IT3, and Nic and Kendra Johnson, of downtown Niles’ Healthy Habits, collected donations from people throughout their communities, filled up large box trucks and drove the supplies down to Texas.

Donation jars and GoFundMe pages have filled business counters and social media feeds for folks to donate financially to those impacted. Churches and nonprofit organizations have shared prayers and passed around collection plates to give to strangers thousands of miles away.

In a country so often divided by political and social tension in recent years, it has been amazing to see a natural disaster bring people together.

As Texans work to rebuild their lives and Floridians bunker down to prepare for the next wave of torrential weather, they can rest assured that their fellow Americans — in every corner of the country — have their backs.

Texas will rebuild, and we will be a stronger, more unified country because of it.

Ambrosia Neldon is the general manager at Leader Publications. She can be reached by phone at (269) 687-7700, or by email at


Posted by Tribune News Services

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