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OPINION: Perry Hall Neighbors Helped Out After Sandy

Even in the midst of trying circumstances, as a result of the blustery visit of Hurricane Sandy, we can still be grateful for the kindness of friends and neighbors.

Like many people, my family and I were taken aback by the significant degree of damage done by last week's visit from Hurricane Sandy, especially in New York and New Jersey. In spite of the event officially being labeled "only" a Category 1 storm—the weakest hurricane possible—high winds, floodwaters, and even blizzard conditions have made their presence known up and down the East Coast. The power of this storm was truly something to behold.

Now mind you, this was not the Smith family's first brush with a hurricane.  During 2005, we happened to chose to visit my in-law's vacation home in Florida during Hurricane Katrina's swing through that state in August; our visit during October of that year coincided with Hurricane Wilma, the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic.  It got to the point that neighbors living near my wife's parents were afraid that our subsequent arrivals meant that another hurricane was on the way!

Unfortunately for us, this most recent hurricane experience led to physical damage to our home here in Perry Hall. One of the large trees in our back yard was uprooted by high winds and ended up falling onto the roof of our house, breaking through in two places.  As you might expect, we were then doing our best to minimize the damage by water that came into the house through the holes in the roof.

I have discovered that you experience a variety of emotions when difficulties like this literally come crashing into your world.  I'm sure that everyone takes for granted the sanctity of their homes. Damage done by natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy shatter the comfort we get from our homes, and make a person feel vulnerable and even afraid of the prospect of similar misfortunes occurring in the future.

It took me a couple of days to get over the initial shock of the scope of damage we will now be dealing with. Ultimately, like many others, I have come to realize that we really aren't in that bad of a spot. Positively, no one in my family was hurt, and we are still able to live in our home. More importantly, thanks to the help of our friends and neighbors, we were able to quickly stabilize the situation and get things back to as close to normal as possible.

In times of trouble, people truly discover who their friends are. I am continually impressed by how folks like our neighbors, including the Malinowski and Applegate families, and close friends of ours like the Evans family, were so willing to jump in and lend us a hand. 

If there is a silver lining that comes from difficult situations caused by circumstances beyond our control, it is the fact that the kindness of others becomes so abundant during these trying times. And as Thanksgiving approaches, the presence of friends like ours is really something to be thankful for.

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