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Fort Bend County, At Large
By Cheryl Skinner

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


 
Kudos to officials

Hats off the Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert, Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Braun, and their staff, for a job very well done during the crisis created by Hurricane Ike.

In addition, some well deserved praise for all the first responders, road crews etc. throughout our county.

Under the circumstances the plans so carefully laid over the past few years came to fruition very well.

In addition, the continuous e-mailed press releases, and radio and television news blurbs kept the media and citizens abreast of all the activities during this challenging time.

Hurricane Ike brings realization

I, like millions of citizens throughout the Hurricane Ike threat zone, prayed for the best but expected the worst. Being married to a retired police officer who assumes the worst will happen, I probably kicked into action faster than the average person.

As Hurricane Ike meandered toward the Gulf Coast, the media warnings took on an urgent tone.

I began preparing the “escape box.” A large plastic storage container was brought in from our storage room. First thing was to get files that contained irreplaceable documents such as marriage and birth certificates, social security cards and insurance policies.

That done, I began walking the house thinking silently about the things I simply could not live without.

It was an eye opener to be sure.

I gave a fleeting glance at the brand new bluebonnet canister set I had waited for a local artist to complete. The set seemed valued when I proudly brought it in.

Instead, I carefully folded the U of H graduation sash that our son had given me on the day he graduated from college three years ago and placed it in the box. I will never forget his words “They said to give this to someone who helped you, guided you and played an important part of your life and your education.”

I walked quickly past a new lamp. Barely glanced at things like televisions, stereos, jewelry boxes and the like.

Bubble wrap was placed gently around the 44-year-old wedding cake topper that adorned our cake. As I wrapped the now delicate ornament I thought of all the challenges and triumphs it signifies.

A small vase with three somewhat discolored silk flowers was next. One pink carnation; one pink rose and a healthier looking blue carnation in a simple glass bud vase. Each flower was taken out an arrangement I received with the birth of each of our three children.

Did I mention I am terribly sentimental?

Those items were followed by photo albums, baby books, school yearbooks and a homemade Mother’s Day book that I value far more than anything of monetary value.

Once the box was filled to capacity, I lamented over the fact that only a miniscule amount of the things I treasure could be put in safekeeping.

I put on the t-shirt our middle child gave me that has a photo of her and our granddaughter (now almost 18) as a baby and tucked a few more treasures in my purse.

And as we carried the box out to my truck for safekeeping I fully realized that a potential crisis always brings home what is near and dear to most everyone.

After a catastrophe people are always seen rummaging for something of “value” and most times they tell reporters they are looking for photos and similar items that give them a sense of family, love and security.

We were spared any damage unlike many of my relatives and coworkers. All of my loved ones came through event with damages ranging from very minor to major. But there were no physical injuries and their photos, memorabilia and tokens were unscathed.

For that I am thankful.

I hope all of you can say the same.

Resilience is their middle name

Several of our office staff are trying to put all the pieces to the Humpty Dumpty mess that Hurricane Ike left them personally.

Luckily all were spared any injuries, but now they are trying to salvage items in their homes because the storm sent trees careening through the roof or shaved the roof off entirely.

I admire them so very much. This is one dedicated bunch of co-workers. All were concerned about whether or not the newspaper would be able to publish and what they could do to submit stories etc.

Since I was the only one of the office staff not impacted by the storm, I was able to pass messages to the others.

Initially we were having a hard time reaching each other due to the devastating losses, lack of power and the resulting glitches in cell phone service.

Hearing them say “I’m OK” was wonderful and hard to describe.

They are one heck of a bunch of ladies and some pretty tough cookies to boot!

 

Contact skinnerc1@tconline.net, if you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column. Write a SIGNED letter to the editor with valid day time phone number--name can be withheld by request.

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   Last Update:  September 18, 2008