Listening to every heart
I made several attempts to find out if this particular letter was "fact" or "fiction". So far, I cannot find it on the internet. But I did receive this from a trusted friend, who knows only to pass along "the good stuff"
Fred Burgess wrote this letter last night. Though it's addressed to the President, we thought you all might understand it better than anyone. So, from Fred, here's to you and how we all are in this together.
Dear Mr. President:
My name is Fred Burgess and I lived about 15 miles northeast of Greensburg, Kansas near the community of Trousdale in rural Edwards County. Like Greensburg, my home and several of my neighbors' homes in Edwards, Stafford and Barton counties were destroyed on May 4th. Another storm came through and destroyed even more homes on May 5th. In addition, many farmers lost irrigation systems, equipment, machinery, crops and cattle.
We have had too many tragedies of late that hit at the heart of the nation, but this disaster really strikes at the soul of the Country. Greensburg is a rural community that represents the nation's settlement and development from one coast to the other. This tragedy did not happen to some "1500 residents of rural Kansas" it happened to the Keens, Welchs, Hewitts, and Bob Mosier, and Karen Martin, and the Grizzells and the Pyiatts and all of the other descendants of those pioneers from all over the world who came to America to follow their dreams and build their futures.
I appreciate all of the disaster relief organizations, the federal and state agencies and the local resources that have rallied so quickly to help us cope with that thing which you never imagine can ever happen to you. And, of course, I appreciate the President of the United States being here
to express the nation's grief at our loss and pledge of support for our future.
But in some ways, Mr. President, I almost wish that you would have come a year from now to help us celebrate what can be accomplished with federal, state and local resources all working toward a common goal. Such a celebration could be a great motivator for agency people, the relief organizations, the state and the local residents to work together to show what can be done when the effort remains focused on the respectful reconstruction of this rural area.
And local component is an important part of this effort. Although federal and state resources are necessary for such massive recoveries, the local effort is a part of our rural culture. We must be certain that we acknowledge the grocer in Bucklin who hands out the bread and sodas and ingredients for the ham salad to the church ladies to make the sandwiches to take to the volunteers who are helping those who lost their homes recover what they can. The grocer helps the church ladies so they can shepherd their meager dollars so later maybe they can help some family that has uninsured medical expenses. You won't see his picture in a newspaper but his contribution is every bit as important as that of anyone else. We must find ways to accept these gestures and acknowledge them as part of the total picture.
You also won't read about the lady from a nearby town's Convention and Tourism Bureau who made arrangements for the people affected by the tornadoes to get significant discounts at many of the retail stores in her community. Her aim is to help stretch the dollars the victims are getting
from Red Cross and others to buy essentials like clothing and shoes and pens and paper and toothbrushes and aspirin. Obviously this isn't typically the job of someone in a Convention and Tourism Bureau and that is just the point. Everyone pitches in with whatever skills and talents they have to get the job done. . . without much worrying about whose job it is to do or declaring "it's not my job". Miraculously, we manage to do these things without much in the way of turf wars or infighting. If toes do get stepped on we apologize. Apologies get accepted out here and then we move on.
I appreciate you being here, Mr. President, and also appreciate the effort being put forth by so many groups and individuals. Most of all, I appreciate the respect that you all will show for this rural community as we work together to restore this little part of the soul of America.
A letter from Fred