Marengo calls for workers on Aug. 28
Red Hickman is coordinating the volunteer workforce in Marengo.
On May 30 of this year, a tornado ripped our small community of 900 assunder with tumultuous power. In less than two minutes, our peaceful community of Marengo was thrown into chaos. Homes were destroyed, multitudes of God’s beautiful trees were felled and shredded, and the hopes and dreams of many were dashed to pieces.
As the first shock of all this was just starting to settle in, help began to arrive. The wailing of sirens announced the arrival of firefighters and police officers who went door-to-door to check each home to make sure residents were safe and unharmed. They came from every community around. They swarmed over, around and through the debris and rubble, the trees and the brush that were haphazardly strewn everywhere. The power, phone, gas and water companies came and attempted to cut power to downed lines and broken pipes.
Then, the news teams came with their bright lights shining and cameras rolling. Reporters talked with anyone who would take time, trying to piece together what the community as a whole felt and experienced.
Along with the news media and cameras came literally hundreds of volunteers, each here for their own purpose, each trying to help in some way.
The American Red Cross and the Salvation Army also came, setting up shelters and registering victims so an accurate accounting could be maintained for each person. They fed the victims and the volunteers. They solicited donations of tools, food and water from neighboring businesses and communities, and directed volunteers to areas that needed help the most.
The National Guard came in. They cut and hauled away huge trees and stumps that were strewn everywhere. They cleared streets to allow access for rescue crews and emergency personnel. They assisted in traffic control and maintained a security curfew for the area. The Guard started early and stayed late, doing what they do best: giving 110 percent of themselves to help the community.
As the days went by, the reporters and their camera crews left, as did a large majority of the volunteers. It seemed as though the cameras leaving was their cue to leave also.
The National Guard finished the initial assault on the streets and trees, the Red Cross shut down its shelter, and the ‘initial disaster crews’ moved on to other areas and states that needed their help.
A resident asked me one evening, ‘Where are the volunteers now that the cameras are gone? Is the work over?’
The answer is NO.
Will it be done in a week or two or a month or two?
The answer is NO.
So what do we do now and where do we go from here? Is there no one who wants to help now that the cameras and publicity are gone? That answer is YES.
We have groups ranging from one person to 75 at a time. They come from as close as Depauw, just six miles away, to Cheyene, Wyo., 1,180 miles away. Volunteer work crews have come from almost every county in Indiana and cities and towns such as Albion, Anderson, Richmond, Madison, Elizabeth, Corydon, Paoli, Palmyra, Georgetown, Lanesville and New Salisbury, to name just some of them.
Organizations are gearing up to come to our aid; however, we can’t depend on everyone to do the work for us. We have to pull together and work together as a team to help each other and our community.
Do we need help? YES, all we can get. If people can come from across the country from places like Illinois, North Carolina, Michigan or Wyoming, can’t we come from across the county or even neighboring counties and cities and towns to donate one day of our time to help our fellow citizens?
Some people need a little nudge to help them decide to do something, so, here’s the nudge. On Saturday, Aug. 28, we are having ‘Crawford County Day.’ This will be a community work day to help our friends and neighbors. This will be a day of work and clean-up in Marengo.
All you need to do is come to the volunteer center behind the Town Hall in Marengo ready to work with others as a team. We will start at 9 a.m. (fast time). Around 12:30 we will all meet at the Legion Park in Marengo, and you will be served a picnic-style lunch.
At this point, you will learn the answer to the question: Where are the volunteers? They will be sitting all around you, doing just as you are, resting in the fact that YOU are the volunteers.
For more information on volunteering as an individual or group or providing needed equipment, call the volunteer center at 365-3284.