Aftermath brings us closer to our neighbors

Sept. 6, 2017 at 4:30 p.m.

In Texas, we are known for our unrelenting sense of self-preservation and independence. You can find reminders of Texan resilience on everything from Ziploc bags to pickups branded "Texas Tough."

A Category 4 hurricane, though, can knock even the toughest Texan back a notch.

Since Hurricane Harvey hit Aug. 25, we're more vulnerable than we have been in years. Our fences are blown down, rooftops gone and homes flooded. Harvey hurt a quarter of the state's population in one way or another.

There's no sense putting on your "Texas Tough" face right now because everyone is in need. Don't be afraid of reaching out to your neighbor for help or to offer a hand to others working to figure out their next step post-Harvey.

It was the spirit of community that kept us alive through the storm, and that same spirit will carry us through the battles yet to come in Harvey's aftermath.

Let's keep politics in our rearview mirror while our neighbors around us are working to regain a sense of normalcy. In an odd way, the lack of power, television and internet in the days after Harvey turned to out to be a blessing.

We had to go outside and talk to our neighbors. There, we found the support we needed.

In one of thousands of such stories, a Victoria man trudged through his backyard to pry plywood off his back door to get into his darkened home. As he was doing that, an elderly couple walked out of their home behind his house.

The couple and the man had never spoken before. A 6-foot privacy fence had separated them for 10 years.

On the day after Harvey, the fence was gone.

The man and the couple talked briefly through the gaping hole in the fence. They inquired about each others' well-being. Mostly, they exchanged hope and kindness.

Another Harvey will come someday. God willing, it won't be in our lifetimes.

Eventually, our homes will be rebuilt. But let's hold on for dear life to this neighborly spirit.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.


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