Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor
I never thought I would be writing this after the devastation that Hurricane Harvey wrought on Houston, but truth be told this tragedy brought out the best in human spirit. There are so many “feel good” stories that have captivated television and social media, that once again, on this end of summer I am proud to be an American.
Proud because there was one of NFL’s greatest defensive players not kneeling for the National Anthem, but leading the charge to contribute over $18 million in funds that went directly to the hurricane’s thousands of victims.
Watt and many of his Houston Texan teammates were shown handing out food and provisions too displaced Houstonians. Watt said not only did he want to raise money but he wanted to insure that the money raised directly went to benefit the victims. I’m not pointing fingers in this case, but sometimes larger charities, like the Red Cross in Haiti, only pass out a portion of the donations they receive. Shame on them, but many kudos to Watt. $18 million is an enormous amount of money to raise in a week’s time.
Of course there were many Americans to step up to the plate. As I was watching feel good movie, Miss Congeniality, I learned that it’s lead actress, Sandra Bullock, was one of the first celebrities to donate to the victims of Harvey. Her donation- an extremely generous $1,000,000. I’m told Ellen DeGeneres matched that and many other celebrities donated lesser amounts.
To a lesser extent, the owner of Houston’s biggest chain of furniture and mattress stores opened several of his locations, unlike Mega-Preacher Joel Osteen, to house victims who has their homes destroyed by the hurricane. Osteen said he couldn’t take in victims at this 15,000 seat church because of flooding concerns, but when several called him out, he recanted later and opened the church doors.
Then there was President and First Lady Trump. Now some of you are going to get on me for giving them praise, but my heart warmed when I saw the duo handing out supplies to victims. The spry President was doing some heavy lifting placing large containers in to the back of pick-up trucks.
Granted it was a terrific photo opportunity, but I do believe the two were genuinely pleased to be able to help out. Amazingly I have heard nothing from the mainstream media that has criticized the President and his government’s effort during the crisis. Just maybe this is the event we needed to bring all sides together, at least on one topic.
While we certainly are doing our part here in the States, Houston and surrounding areas can’t be compared to what is happening in parts of India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Because of the worst flooding in a part of the world that typically floods during monsoon season, 1200 hundred have died and millions have been displaced from their homes.
Flooding has been cruel to Bangladesh is particular. Having owned the newspaper in Hamtramck, Michigan for some time, which has a majority Bangladeshi population, and because of that having several Bangladeshi friends, I have heard many a horror story as a result of this catastrophe. 700 have died in Bangladesh in the last two months- victims of the worst flooding the world has ever encountered. Certainly far worse than anything Houston has seen.
We are fortunate hear in the States that we have the means to deal with catastrophic flooding. We are fortunate that so many Americans, many who have never been to Texas, are willing to reach deep in their pocketbooks to send money or needed items to charities that help the victims.
I applaud all who have contributed, and I applaud people like JJ Watt who have given so much of their time and fortune to show us that the American spirit will always be there in time of need.