County’s unity was wonderful

Published 11:59 pm Tuesday, March 17, 2009

We all have personal tragedies. Often, those tragedies leave behind nagging questions like “why,” and “how,” that are never answered.

In Samson and Geneva, those residents know firsthand what it is to experience a personal tragedy.

In a show of solidarity for what happened to our neighbors, Covington County — from Andalusia to Florala — made an outstanding show of support, raising nearly $55,000 for the victims’ families. The figure is hard to conceive, considering volunteers, armed with buckets on our cities’ streets, collected the bulk of it.

Since the fund-raiser began, those involved have caught a lot of flack for designating last Wednesday’s fund to Geneva County deputy Josh Myers and his family. In fact, I was having dinner in a local restaurant Saturday night and the topic of conversation at the next table was how it was their opinion no one person should have been singled out for “special treatment.” From reading The Star-News’ Web site, I counted no less that five users who voiced the same opinion.

And that’s okay. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but I would imagine that none of those people have ever experienced a true personal tragedy.

I have, and I know for a fact when “it” happens, a person needs something they can latch on to; something they have the ability to control, and something to prove that one can make a difference.

When the news of the shootings came across, this county showed the nation what it meant to belong a community — where your friends and neighbors care about each other — when this fund-raising project was born. At the time, authorities were only releasing the name of the deputy’s wife and child.

That was the reason, I think, that people latched on to the fund-raising project in Myers’ name.

Sure, they felt the pull because he was a police officer. It wasn’t that they were diminishing the fate of the other eight victims, who at that point were unnamed.

It was because it was a project they could control. It was a way for them to respond to the tragedy, and it didn’t matter if they were nurses, teachers, construction workers, homemakers, farmers or police officers. People felt like they were making a difference.

That’s the real reason the effort was able to raise nearly $55,000.

We should all pat ourselves on the back for that feat. We did good, and we can only hope that if — God forbid — this community needs help like that some day, some one will be there to lend a hand.

WAAO’s Blaine Wilson summed it up when he said, “We can’t change what happened yesterday, but we can make a difference today.”

Personal tragedies aside, that’s a philosophy we can all apply to our every day lives.