Be The Good In This World–Before, During And After The Storm

Be The GoodIn Florida, we just experienced our second hurricane in a year. When it is the kind you have to evacuate for, it is an experience of a different order. The waiting and the anticipation can drive you crazy.

Yes we know we live on a piece of land that is surrounded by water on three sides and we also know that there is a season, called hurricane season. But the reality of a seriously violent storm barreling towards your front or back door has been few and far between. So when your television viewing exclusively becomes the Weather Channel, you should be prepared for your entire endocrine system to go on overload and your preparation activities to go into overdrive.

Post-storm, we are happy to report that we are okay. We may have gotten knocked around a bit, but what incredible support by our first responders, our city leadership, our neighbors, and friends. We are up and rolling again, with everyone taking inventory and jumping into support all those that need help. Neighbors removing fallen trees and picking up fallen roof shingles, complete strangers sending much-needed supplies and funds, and the much-appreciated well-wishers and messages of caring, all are contributing to our belief in renewal. Resilience is the emotion that is guiding our spirits which is remarkable considering how much people have endured and will continue to as some of the storm damage will take quite a while to clean up. It remains so encouraging to see how these moments of challenge can bring out the very best in us. It also remains very alarming and concerning at the extreme vulnerability of so many in our communities.

Kudos to our friend Kerri Stewart whose introduction to her new job as Chief Customer Officer at the Jacksonville Electric Authority (JEA) was met head-on. She, undoubtedly sitting in one of the hotter seats during the recent storm, was focused and determined, and was so grateful to the great folks who she was working alongside; all motivated to get the job done. Mayor Curry, Sheriff Williams, the JTA, Paul McElroy, and so many organizations and officials who were called upon to step up and protect the greater good, did just that. These kinds of events make you think about all the things you usually take for granted and help us realize just how many wheels are turning every day to ensure a quality of life that is vital to a great city such as ours!

So heartfelt thanks to the great people who extend their hands, their hearts, and their wallets because they believe in the greater good. We are better together. We continue to see that in Houston and across the state of Florida. We will need that extended hand in Puerto Rico and to the people of the Caribbean who have had their homes decimated.

Recovery work–both physical and emotional–is a marathon, not a sprint and although needs may change, they still persist. I encourage you to connect with local United Way chapters in storm-affected areas to see how best you can help. In Jacksonville, click here to visit the United Way of Northeast Florida which has partnered with 5 agencies to create the First Coast Relief Fund to support local organizations who are assisting residents in our area.

Here’s to being part of the good in this world!

Donna Orender