Tragedy strikes when we least expect it

…a message from Executive Director Marsha Eichelberger

I’ve just read that hurricane Irma completely destroyed over 25% of homes in the Florida Keys. An additional 65% suffered severe damage that makes them temporarily uninhabitable. Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and many more places were similarly battered by the recent hurricanes. Can you imagine? All those lives instantly thrown into chaos; all those families faced with the daunting task of rebuilding. We all know the frustration of having something to repair in our own homes, some inconvenience large or small that requires us to spend the day arguing with insurance providers or shopping contractors. Rebuilding, no matter what the scale, is never easy. This is almost unimaginable… but for the families affected it has to be done. They have to take one step toward normality, then another and another after that until they can see the lights turn back on—literally.

Last week at our Community Meeting, our student interns led our residents, staff and volunteers in preparing personal care kits for hurricane victims. As I helped our families package and prepare the kits, I was thinking about the resilience of all those people rebuilding their lives in far away places—and right here in Montgomery County. Our families know more about perseverance than anyone. They can easily empathize with coastal families suddenly finding themselves with nothing, afraid and alone. They also know how it feels to get support and caring from people eager to help.

Tragedy strikes when we least expect it and often when we are least prepared. You can’t prevent it. All we can do is keep doing the next thing, keep making the next call, keep hammering the next nail, and most of all, always, keep being strong and brave for those we love.

Our thoughts, hearts and helping hands are with all those affected by losses big and small. My hope is for all to find the strength and resiliency to do the next thing, and that they have helping hands as amazing as ours to help them do it.

Executive Director Marsha Eichelberger