You’ve seen the images over the last several weeks: devastating fires in the west, unimaginable flooding in the east. One part of the country is desperate for rains to fall while another begs God to dry up the floodwaters. Whether it’s fire or water, whole communities have been wiped away. Precious lives have been lost or irrevocably changed.
In these environments, heroes emerge. Not loud or showy. Not with super powers. Not wearing capes. Instead, they come with helmets and gloves and boots. They arrive by helicopter or boat. They bring with them strength and hope. And food and water and shelter.
This is National Fire Prevention week, which probably seems foreign at the moment to those in South Carolina dealing with a 1,000-year flood. There are heroes in both fire and flood, and I want to celebrate them today.
I attended an airshow this weekend and saw both Canadian and U.S. air force flying demonstrations. These are easy heroes to cheer and celebrate.
However, the real heroes of the hour (so to speak) didn’t get to appear on stage. Instead, they waited in the background, perhaps because they had to be ready to go at a moment’s notice. Extremely dry weather, high winds and the threat of thunderstorms with little rain brought a red flag warning Saturday, and the Cal Fire units that had been set to participate in the day’s events stayed behind the scenes, quiet and waiting.
In the last few days, Cal Fire finally reached 100 percent containment of two raging fires, one that burned up 76,067 acres and another that burned 70,868. So I am not exaggerating when I tell you these are my heroes.
For flood and fire victims alike, heroes may come in many shapes and sizes. The fireman who returned the day after a fire to corral several horses and make sure they had fresh hay. The vets working to save burned animals. The National Guard troops keeping flooded areas safe. The countless volunteers staffing shelters, cooking meals, donating time and supplies. These are the heroes that emerge in disasters such as these.
While many of us may not be able to go to the front lines of the fires and floods, we can still help the heroes who are there. Here are two great organizations that would welcome your support:
- American Red Cross
- UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief)
I love a good airshow, but even more, I love the ways capeless heroes rush to save lives, property and the natural resources that make this such a beautiful country.
How will you help these heroes? Do you have other go-to organizations for helping when disasters strike?
If you have a hero story to share from flood or fire, please add it to the comments below. And if you’ve been affected by these recent natural disasters and would like prayer, I’d be honored to lift you up in prayer. Simply put your request in the comments below.