Monday, August 29, 2016

Flat Gap 2015

The following post and poem comes from Rodney, a terrific volunteer in Eastern KY. He and his wife Vicki, became Red Cross volunteers several months ago after being moved to make a difference after witnessing the impact of severe flooding in their area.

Last year, I wrote a poem after seeing the devastation caused by the flooding in Flat Gap, KY. When my wife Vicki and I heard about the flooding at Flat Gap in July 2015, we were moved to help and headed to a relief center in Paintsville, Ky. It was inspiring to see so many high school age students working the relief center - sorting supplies and helping victims load the supplies into their cars. The response to help from the local communities was truly tremendous.

We didn't see all of the disaster area that day, but we saw enough to be overwhelmed by the devastation and could only imagine how the affected people must have felt. The traits of the people in particular impressed us - their fortitude, their resilience, their determination to persevere in spite of the tragedy they had just experienced. That is what I tried to express in the poem.

Since I had recently retired from work we had been considering ways that we could serve the community. This experience motivated us to explore the best avenue of service for us, which was the Red Cross. We joined online and we were quickly signed up for orientation, training and placed in service as disaster responders and as presenters for the Pillowcase Project (a preparedness program for children). We have helped open a shelter in Louisa, responded to house fires and tornadoes, and taught many children emergency preparedness. Being Red Cross volunteers has been as fulfilling for us as we had hoped. We feel like we can do so much more to help our neighbors in their time of need as Red Cross volunteers.


Flat Gap 2015

March snows,
Never before so much.
The people shouted, “Stop!”
But the snows said, “No.”
“I will fill your roads,
I will block your paths,
And when I melt
I will soak your ground.”
The people pushed on…

April rains,
Never before so much.
The people cried, “Stop!”
But the rains said, “No.”
“I will rot your potatoes,
Wash away your tiles and roads,
And when I flood
I will saturate your ground.”
The people pushed on…

July thunderstorms,
Never before so much.
The people wailed, “Stop!”
But the creek said, “No.”
I will become a river
Roaring through your mountain walls,
Demolishing your homes,
Taking with me precious lives,
And when I rage
I will sanctify your ground.”
The people pushed on…

Rodney Gould July 21, 2015

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