It is incredibly difficult to be away from family, friends and home when a disaster strikes. I know and understand that this October, on a sadly personal basis.

But to watch the thousands of linemen, trucks, service workers and dispatchers give up their own homes, family and personal tragedies to show up where they are needed most to do their jobs at their highest and best efforts cannot be measured with a simple “Thanks.” Sometimes, even the most heartfelt words although sincerely meant, are simply not enough.

Emergency workers, Guardsmen, medical professionals, those who cook, those who serve, those who lead, those who fetch and carry and deliver and scrub and pray have all been stretched to their limits in our counties. But they rinse their salty clothes in a bucket and head back out again for more incredibly hard duty because that is what friends and neighbors can do for each other in such times.

“Are you ok?”

“Have you heard from your mama?”

“Your folks all right?”

“Do you need ice, dog food, diapers, a joke for the day, a shovel, a hug, a prayer?”

In our country’s time of sadly divisive local, state and national controversies, Republicans, Democrats, independents, and even those who fail to vote have come together to help each other in our Panhandle. They have come from counties and states far away to help return the basic necessities of life to those who may never again be able to take them for granted. It is such tragedy that reminds us we truly cannot survive without each other.

So “thank you” to all who deserve our gratitude and appreciation. From near and far, we are so very grateful. There are few better gifts offered and given than those from one person to another.

Some lives may never again return to what was ‘normal.” But a heartfelt “thank you” to all who helped make our lives possible again.

Gratefully for always,

Mel Kelly