Shelter from the storm

Published 6:00 pm Thursday, September 7, 2017

In recent years, social media has sometimes been criticized for creating space between us, but as Hurricane Irma makes its way North, another side of the social media phenomenon quickly becomes visible. Dozens of offers to house those temporarily displaced by the storm dot Facebook, along with helpful information and the latest updates from the National Weather Service.

These offers become increasingly significant as local hotels fill with Florida residents fleeing what, at best will be a tropical storm, but at worst could be much worse in the area where they live.

It is phenomenal to watch the community rise to the occasion as this second hurricane of the season approaches our neighbors — with a third on its heels. It will be a difficult weekend for those displaced by the Category 5 storm, but we are confident in our community’s ability to be great hosts for Florida and East Georgia residents who stay in our community until the storm passes.

Even while Irma was only a tropical storm, residents were taking steps to help those displaced by Harvey, and we have no doubt that Troup County residents will rise to the occasion to lend a hand after Irma as well. That is, after all, the type of community that we have here in LaGrange.

So, as visitors wander our streets during the next few days, remember to give them a warm LaGrange welcome, and maybe even invite them to one of the multitude events scheduled for this weekend. A downtown festival or an art opening or a play might be just what is needed to take someone’s mind off the uncertain weather patterns for a few hours.

We cannot control the weather, but we can respond to it and to those displaced by it. In a few weeks, cleanup crews will doubtless begin to make their way to our neighbors in Texas, Flordia and East Georgia to help people put their homes and lives back together. In the meantime, though, it is our duty to do what we can for those here temporarily, seeking shelter from the storm.