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A small dose of reality

My wife Jennifer sent this around in an email to some friends and family. I just really felt the need to share this.

Hello, all...

This is something I wanted to share with all of you. Many people think since they are so far away from the devastation of Katrina that it will not affect them (other than at the gas pump). Yesterday, after school let out, a family walked into my office, looking tired and weary. They said they were thinking of enrolling their children in our schools. They were from New Orleans and they had lost their home.

This family was fortunate to have a place to go... a vacation home in Park City. Yes, this particular family may have money, but they have lost their home... their sentimental pictures and keepsakes, their treasured possessions. They have been forced out of their home and now must re-start their lives. They must find new jobs, new friends, new schools, a new community to live in, a new place to feel safe. Their lives are forever changed.

The mother was worrying about the kids' school records rotting away under water, and birth certificates and immunization records that will be impossible to find. The daughter, her eyes red and swollen, often sniffled and wiped away tears. Her father, laying a hand on her shoulder, kept his head down, pretending to fill out paperwork, but his pen rarely moved. It was heartbreaking.

I know of at least two other "Katrina" families who have moved into our school district alone. We have heard about Utahns offering their homes to refugee families until they can get on their feet. I was also going to mention the plans to house refugees at Camp Williams, southwest of Salt Lake City, but I read this morning that those plans have failed. [Note: since this writing, the plan has gone forward and some families have begun arriving here in Utah.] The point is, people are traveling hundreds and thousands of miles to get help.

And we didn't think it would affect us.

I have plenty to say about how poorly the government is handling the crisis, about useless self-aggrandizing press conferences, about how slowly aid is getting to affected areas compared to the tsunami efforts last winter, and about how our military and National Guard should serving OUR nation, not fighting an endless battle overseas... but why waste my breath. When a sobering opportunity to help comes along, that is where our passion and our emotion should be focused.

Thank you for reading. I hope this message finds all of you well, and safe.

Take care,
September 3, 2005