Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

May 31, 2013

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Preparing for a disaster

Jacksonville Daily Progress

JACKSONVILLE — We never know when disaster might strike.  Weather is unpredict-able. Moore, Oklahoma has had  its share of bad weather over the years, as it is right down tornado alley. Today virtually part of the town no longer exists; most assuredly the citizens of this community of 51,000 will rebound ........... but it will take hundreds of millions of dollars. Hope-fully, as the town rebuilds, changes to the city construction code will be made that will require storm shelters in new dwellings so that loss of life can me minimized.

We are fortunate in Jacksonville in that events like the one in Moore occur rarely. The last really nasty tornado in Jacksonville took place in November of 1987.  The system came up through Earle's Chapel, crossed through Mt. Haven on Carey Lake Road (F.M. 747), came out by Love's Lookout and went up through Mt. Selman. There was minimal loss of life and a few homes were wiped off the face of the planet. Noth-ing remotely like what took place in Moore.

Through the selfless efforts of people like Mr. Billy Bateman and those who have contributed to his cause, Jacksonville is lending a helping hand to the folks in Moore. It is a drop in the bucket but every little bit helps.

By visiting www.red-cross.org, dialing 1-800-REDCROSS or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, we help the cause a little more.

The urgency is this:  We never know when we will be next. Let us prepare ourselves for the unforeseeable.

This means stocking up on food and beverages. It means having the proper insurance on our homes, cars and other belongings.

Maybe it even means making modifications to our dwellings so that we have a place for protective shelter in case of a tornadic event. We may need to defer non-essential purchases in order to concentrate on those things that are necessary for unforeseeable disasters.

As members of the Red Cross Board for Cherokee, Smith and surrounding counties, we are constantly made aware of the tragedies that occur daily in East Texas.

It currently appears that our county will have fewer disasters in fiscal 2013 than it had in fiscal 2012.

Nevertheless, what the Red Cross has injected into the county to help those who have had personal disasters – mostly fires – far exceeds what we, as citizens of the county donate to the Red Cross.

We need to approach this from a different perspective. It is a bit of an abstraction to talk about other peoples' disasters; it only, and all of a sudden, becomes concrete and real when it happens to us.

Only 36% of those  in Cherokee County who have had personal disasters this fiscal year had insur-ance.

We encourage the citizens of the county to do two significant things: Protect your personal belongings with insurance; even if it means deferring non-essential purchases.

Second, please make a donation to the Red Cross. You never know when you may be giving to yourself.


Lula Hinton,

Mike McEwen

Board Members,

East Texas Chapter, American Red Cross