It's funny how a news event can shape the way we look at life. In the morning editorial meeting the other day we were talking about a follow up on a story that we covered. I made the comment that we did it "before the derecho."
My news director Bill Foy laughed a little and said, "The summer now seems to be split – BD, AD." You know, before derecho, after derecho.
My, oh my, is he right.
When we look back on what was the biggest news story of 2012 (as we do on the eve of every New Year) here at ABC 13 News, there will be a lot of contenders. George Huguely was found guilty of killing ex-girlfriend and lacrosse player Yeardley Love. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled the President's health care overhaul was constitutional. Plus, we still have a presidential race in November!
But I stand to say that, for those affected, the derecho that hit June 29, 2012 will be the biggest news maker of the year. We lost power (for days), we lost trees, cars, homes. We watched the best come out in people – like the couple hauling ice up their blocked street who gave my family a bag as they passed by. We also had friends with a backup generator take our family in for four nights. They had a house full. They had a lot going on in their own lives. They still opened their doors and never made us feel like we were putting them out. God bless Emily and Nick.
We also watched the worst as tensions flared in the long, hot days spent waiting for power to be restored.
I'd like to think our community is stronger and better because of it.
We know the good work our neighbors at the Red Cross, Thomas Road Baptist Church and Gleaning for the World can accomplish during a state of emergency. It's not often you get to see the mission work these groups do in your own back yard. There are countless other churches and organizations that stepped forward – just opening so you could cool off the afternoon and get a cold drink. I am grateful to all of them.
We watched our cities, towns, counties and emergency management organizations quickly execute a plan in the wake of the disaster. They secured the roads for our safety, brought in ice and water when supplies got dangerously low, and kept us up to date on a daily basis about what was going on, what was available and what was next.
I live in Lynchburg and was particularly impressed with the daily press conference that started over the weekend with city leaders and went on every day until the state of emergency was lifted.
I am sure there were shortfalls. A lot of people questioned price gouging. A lot of people felt AEP ignored their neighborhood. A lot of people were frustrated and angry.
But weeks after the wind storm, I can't remember those shortfalls. Hopefully as you clean up your yard, restock your refrigerator and freezer, enjoy your AC or cable, you are feeling a sense of normalcy AD … and maybe a better feeling about your neighbors than you had BD.