March 7, 2007
Last Thursday, south Georgia was pounded by devastating tornadoes that killed nine of our neighbors and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. The emergency and volunteer response were immediate and overwhelming.
Minutes after a deadly tornado ripped through Americus, Sumter County put out a call for help. Paramedics, state troopers, firefighters, and law officers from numerous area counties hit the road practically before the wind stopped whipping. They set up an emergency command center, evacuated the crippled hospital, and went door to door in damaged neighborhoods at their own peril looking for people injured or in need of help.
A couple of hours later, another tornado ravaged Baker County and killed six people. Volunteers and emergency crews with chainsaws cleared trees off roads so ambulances and search and rescue teams could get through.
By the weekend, no fewer than 16 state and federal agencies were on the ground in south Georgia making sure storm victims got the help they needed.
While we in the media are quick to point out deficiencies in emergency response, and rightly so, we also need to praise public officials when they do right by us. So far in this disaster they have. We want to say thank you to all the relief organizations and volunteers and local, state, and federal officials who responded so well. We hope that attitude of cooperation continues. We promise to do our part to help our neighbors. We hope you will too.