Victims of Storm Need Epic Help

Written by Bette Dewing on . Posted in Opinion West Side Spirit.


ALL OF US MUST PITCH IN AND DO OUR PART FOR THOSE MOST AFFECTED

By Bette Dewing

I’m with those who feel official help with this epic hurricane has not been epic enough. It sure would help if the unaffected were exposed to Nova’s Pulitzer-worthy documentary “Inside the Superstorm,” which I so providentially caught when taking a TV break from writing this column. Regrettably, the paper of record’s short review, which I later checked, in essence concluded that we’d seen all this before. Ah, but what we desperately need is reminding of this heartbreaking, mind-numbing devastation and the need for epic long-term help from every last one of us who was not affected.

This and two other related documentaries help us remember what the president said on his visit to local disaster areas: “We are bound together and must look out for each other. … We’re going to have to put the turf battles aside.” (New York Times, Nov. 16.)

And put those political partisan battles aside, too; Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, with their considerable smarts and resources, should be on the front lines of this Herculean rescue, clean-up and restoration effort. So should other losing candidates. Then everyone wins.

The Times has provided much valuable storm coverage, but its Nov. 17 front-page story “Helping hands also expose a New York divide: Storm volunteers in poor areas stir resentment” should have run at a much later date.

But do remember the Times Nov. 16 story reporting how the president gave a big hug to Debbie Ingenito of Staten Island and said he understood about her husband not being there because he had to protect the house and the block. Ah, comforting hugs like the president and the first lady frequently give should be widely prescribed, and role-modeled in entertainment mediums instead of affections that get high-profilers in very big trouble.

Although faith groups are among the most dedicated helpers, let sermons and also Sabbath school lessons continue to be about meeting the needs of this epic disaster. Isn’t that what “Love one another” is all about?

Here’s to the hugely popular Thanksgiving Day Parade also getting this urgent message across—like a Charlie Brown balloon saying, “Helping is what Thanksgiving is all about this year.” And say this over the Thanksgiving dinner plates too, and include the Nova documentary in any TV viewing that day. As for Black Friday shopping, shouldn’t all holiday buying and entertaining, in part, help storm-ravaged business places and people?

Maybe this sounds dumb, but I often ask how people made out in the storm. The Cherokee Post Office clerk said, “I lost my car—but my home is okay.” She seemed glad I asked and wished me a “very happy Thanksgiving.” A 79th Street bus driver replied, “Luckily, I live far enough inland, but other family members were hit really hard.” But another 79th Street driver said brusquely, “Like everyone else!” Maybe an idea for all us unscathed ones to adopt?

And here’s to musicians getting people in hard-hit places to sing together! More so than just talking, singing gives health and hope and brings people together.

And, of course, we keep giving in orthodox ways: Bless the army of volunteers and all who labor in this arduous and even dangerous rescue and recovery work.

Meanwhile, Sen. Liz Krueger’s roundtable for boomers and seniors on longevity challenges took place on Nov. 15, and the New York Council on Cooperatives and Condominiums conference included a workshop on helping seniors “age in place.” Keep an eye out for our upcoming coverage of these.

dewingbetter@aol.com

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