Just a little over a week ago we turned our collective gaze to the heavens and were mesmerized by the solar eclipse, sharing photos and stories in a way that brought us together as a community of Americans, impacted and in awe of astronomical events outside of our control.
Then came Harvey. Once again we are brought together as a community by something happening in the atmosphere, far beyond our control. But this time our awe has turned to horror at the devastating impact of Hurricane Harvey and the subsequent rains on Houston and the other communities that have been ravaged in South Texas and the Gulf Coast.
The weather forecasters had warned that this would be a big storm, and fortunately many of the people who needed to be prepared to respond were ready. But even with the preparation, this storm has left the infrastructure so badly battered that it will take a great deal of time and effort for a full recovery.
It is impossible to see the images on TV or in the newspaper without seeing yourself in the situation, without feeling the anxiety of those whose families are impacted, or without sensing the pressures and difficulties being faced by local healthcare organizations and professionals. The situation is both mind-boggling and heartbreaking.
To say that our hearts go out to those impacted is not enough, which is why Adventist HealthCare is reaching out with resources to support those on the ground—our colleagues, but also our brothers and sisters—who are working diligently to make a difference.
One of the groups through which we are working is Adventist Community Services (ACS). They are the Seventh-day Adventist organization charged with disaster response, and I have personally seen their teams of volunteers and professionals effectively meeting needs in many situation over the years. If you are looking for a way to respond, I can recommend them with confidence.
But this, like the eclipse, is an event that goes beyond any group or organization. It’s not just the people in Houston and South Texas who are impacted by the storm—we all are. And while we have every confidence in the capacity of the impacted communities to bounce back, there will be many difficult moments ahead for which our human family—and our colleagues in healthcare—will need our support and help. We are, after all, one human family.