In the aftermath of this unbelievable tragedy, emotions are running high, fear being one of them. It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind, but in the midst of the horror, some beautiful, uplifting stories are unfolding.
Colorado has invited 1000 survivors to make a new home in this sun-filled, high-spirited, DRY, infinitely friendly place. The people are overjoyed at this opportunity to embrace these Americans who have just been through hell. Here are some excerpts from the Rocky Mountain News:
Volunteers canceled Labor Day weekend plans and worked around the clock to cart off truckloads of debris and mop away years of grime. In a massive outpouring of support — from pastors to policy wonks, from cops to robbers–Camp Katrina was born. The first planeload of survivors to enter the Mile High Miracle arrived on Sunday. They rejoiced at being in clean, dry, safe surroundings.
Up and humming – Welcome to Camp Katrina.
Outside in the parking lot, volunteers use generators to serve hot meals. Evacuees play pickup basketball games, using portable backboards a Denver sheriff bought with his own money after noticing them scrimmaging in the parking lot. Buses regularly shuttle residents to a variety of places–hair salons, the Dumb Friends League, where their pets are housed, schools, stores, and health clubs. The bus schedule appears on a huge white board just outside the entrance to Building 900. Down the hall, evacuees make free phone calls on orange and white phones. On the second floor of the east wing, a room has been transformed into a day care center.
Across the way, volunteers sort through piles of clothing. It was announced that new bras and panties were available, as some woman had gone to Target, bought them, and dropped them off.
Volunteers ask the people what they want and then go get them. Flip- flops were the most requested item.
Every step of the way, a victim assistance advocate guides each family.
The people of Denver took the abandoned Air Force dormitory and in record time cleaned it, fixed the plumbing, brought in carpenters to build vanities, cable TV was installed, and 50 phone lines. About 1,100 volunteers worked on the transformation.
People aren’t fully grasping the magnitude of this event yet. It will go down in history as one of America’s biggest disasters. Stories, songs, books, poems, movies, etc. will be written about it. Heroes will be remembered. And for generations the survivors will be telling their tales. It will also be remembered as a time when the U.S. government failed and the people themselves launched one of the most massive rescue missions ever experienced.