For Communities Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Across America, hearts are breaking for the devastation that has resulted from Hurricane Harvey. For those of us that live in communities that have been affected by disasters, our hearts break just a little more because we’ve been there. We also know that you have what it takes to lift yourselves and your community.

You need to grieve your losses so that you can move ahead. Don’t pretend that it’s just stuff because it was your stuff.  Some of it was special – photos, a wedding dress, drawings from your children and letters from your parents. You will miss the church where you were married or the restaurant that served your favorite pizza. You’ll long for everything to be the way it was but with time you’ll realize that the past won’t be your future.

Your communities can become better and stronger. You’ll have opportunities to rebuild the way you wish you would have done it the first time. Although the temptation is strong – don’t rush. Take time to plan and to dream. Listen to each other. Try something new.

It’s a long road ahead. Those of us that have been there will be standing right beside you. We’re willing to share our failures and our successes. We also know that what worked for us is not the only path to recovery.

If you are taking a role in the recovery of your community, I hope you’ll take time to read some of the lessons we learned in Joplin.  48 of us have shared what we want you to know – in government, health care, education, mental health, animal control, private industry and more.  You can download “Joplin Pays It Forward” through this link.  All of us are glad to have a conversation as well.

In any case, we’re keeping you close to our hearts and in our prayers.