Pax is Latin for "peace." It is ironic that the latest winter storm should be dubbed with such a name.
Long before Winter Storm Pax arrived to make anything but peace with Barnwell County, there were people making preparations.
As the forecasters became convinced that Pax would be a nasty storm (actually two storms merging), our emergency operations folks were getting ready.
What they didn't expect was an ice storm that would knock out power to over 90 percent of residents. And a fire destroying a hardware store. And a fire causing the evacuation of a nursing home. And the hospital losing power. And the communications tower shutting down. And an earthquake. And an aftershock.
Disaster drills usually focus on one type of disaster and organizers usually throw in a few curves just to keep everyone on their toes.
When it came time for the real thing, Mother Nature threw in more than just a few curves.
Roger Riley, who is Barnwell County's Emergency Operations Director, took the lead. To try and name all the people who were involved in responding to last week's storm would take more newsprint than is available here. Suffice it to say there were hundreds of people involved.
To all of you, we say "thank you!" Most people don't realize the amount of work that has gone on to get power restored, services provided, and emergencies handled. While we slept, you were awake. While we stayed by fireplaces, you were out in the cold and sleet and dark. While we waited and complained, you took action and got help for us.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Our disaster is not over. Now comes the effort of recovery. It is a recovery that we are being told could last weeks, even months and mostly involves getting rid of all the debris. Our local, state and federal emergency operations teams are already working to make sure our county is provided with the financial means of coping with this disaster.
Volunteers from all over are coming to Barnwell County to help in the clean up and recovery. We ask citizens to join those volunteers to help your neighbors. Donate time, donate blood, donate what you can as they donate their time and skills to help us.
And please take time to say "thank you" to them.
In the weeks to come, people are going to lose patience because they will want things to return to normal immediately. It isn't going to happen immediately. It can't happen immediately. That's reality.
Our citizens are going to have to be patient.
Patience is hard.
But a little patience is a small price to pay for the efforts our leaders are expending to the benefit of us all.
Be a part of the solution to get our county back to what we consider "normal."
Again - to all those who worked so hard before, during and after the storm - thank you, and may Pax be with you.
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