Editorial: After quakes and storms
‘When it rains, it pours,” is an adage that could describe our front page stories this week.
We’re covering the efforts of Reverdy Clark, a second-grader from St. Agnes School whose donation of his life-savings ($9.63) to Haitian relief sparked a schoolwide fundraiser.
We’ve also devoted coverage to the senior class of Livonia Central School, who chose to turn away from the glitz and glamour of usual senior trips to New York or Washington D.C. and help with Hurricane Katrina recovery in New Orleans’ 9th Ward.
Finally, we have the story of a church missionary group from Leicester that was booked to do construction work in Haiti a day before they learned of the earthquake. As soon as the airport was re-opened, the group went down anyway and lent a hand with the recovery.
Their group included Doug Hollinger, who trained locals how to install ultraviolet water purification systems; a $60 unit can handle the needs of an entire village.
Finally, we have an item about Catholic Charities director Joe Dimino, who is leaving his position to assist with the development of an orphanage in Kenya.
(I must not fail to mention a fundraiser made by the employees of Gunlocke in Wayland to benefit the American Red Cross efforts in Haiti.)
In fact, there is so much to report in this area of international relief and recovery that we don’t have enough space to contain it all this week. I’m going to have to use the two stories about Haiti this week and set aside room for the Livonia senior trip to sprawl out next week.
As amazing as Livingston County is in the area of philanthropy and volunteerism, we are assuredly not alone in our generosity. Thousands of communities throughout the nation have poured out millions of dollars and legions of unpaid workers to lend a hand in the neediest parts of the world — with no expectation of anything in return.
Americans sometimes get a bad rep abroad for our practice of “Cowboy Diplomacy” as shown by the ongoing quagmires that are Iraq and Afghanistan. While our Constitution is a beacon of freedom, we too often, at times, set aside its protections for the sake of expediency.
What we don’t have a reputation for is being stingy. Whenever there is desperate need in the world, America is there — with the backing of our own government and with independent organizations that maintain stability by building hospitals, schools, wells and latrines — and by serving as a conduit for much needed food and supplies.
Americans are also known for their tenacity. We don’t easily give up on our causes. Years after disaster strikes, we are still on the ground trying to rebuild what has been lost.
One such organization is Livingston County Cares, based at SUNY Geneseo, which has organized 15 trips to Biloxi and Gulfport, Miss. to rebuild houses lost following Hurricane Katrina.
The group recently established a Haiti Relief Fund to which you can donate at communitycare.geneseo.edu.
These examples of outreach are amazing, but it’s important to realize that disaster can strike any family any time — and there are volunteers on call at local firehouses and ambulance services to handle those terrible incidents too.
We live in a great county in a great country, made great by its generous people one person at a time.