I am most happy and relieved to report that my family are all OK. I can't get through on the phone to most of them but I have seen posts on facebook. I did talk to my brother briefly but he was between rescues and couldn't talk much other than to reassure me that he was OK.
He said the Island where I spent my teen years is a mess. I've seen some footage and this was indeed "the big one." The Island is closed for the next 10 days while emergency management personnel determine the safety of the causeway over to the Island and clear the roads of sand. Many of the houses that were built on piling appear to still be standing which proves that building regulations are not all bad. The older houses that were sitting at ground level must have seen many feet of water. While I never loved the newer architectural styles on the Island, building the houses up on pilings makes sense in an area with storm surge possibilities.
People decided to ride it out. It won't be as bad as predicted - well, sometimes that is true. This time it was not. Many of them called as the water rose to "get me out of here." That is where my brother and many other very courageous fathers, husbands, wives and mothers went at the risk of their own lives to get those people out. When they should have been out in the first place. I wonder if they think about that when they are being rescued? I wonder if they think they are putting others at risk with their selfishness? Do they realize that not only do those rescuers have to get them to safety but they then go back and do it again and again and again? Do they worry about anything other than themselves? Do they even think about the families of these first responders who sit and worry about their loved ones? I wonder. Because it's pure selfishness that keeps them in harm's way in the first place. No material possession is worth your life or the life of another in saving you. Rescuers have died in the rescuing and Long Beach Islanders only have to look to 1962 and the Great Storm to know this.
Then there is the media - reveling in the interviews with the rescued people. What was it like? Why did you stay? Why did you change your mind? But where is the praise and enthusiasm for the rescuers? They just exist in the background - unimportant to the story but in reality the crux of the story. These men and woman who do this - many of them volunteers - deserve so much more. Many of the volunteer fire companies and ambulance squads located in the disaster area lost their trucks and other equipment in the flooding. Remember this when it comes to making donation. These volunteers who go out in any weather for any disaster will need help in the coming months to rebuild their companies.
I am so very happy my brother and the others who work with him are safe. They are still working hard to help the people left on Long Beach Island. I hope they are appreciated.