Help from far and wide has been overwhelming
The devastation rendered to this area by Hurricane Ivan would be impossible to overcome, were it not for the hundreds of people who have traveled here to assist in our recovery as a community.
While it would be impossible to compose an exhaustive list of those who deserve our gratitude for their efforts, we can begin by thanking these few: power crews from across the United States who are working to untangle mangled power lines throughout the county; sheriff's departments and fire and rescue squads from many other Alabama counties who have set up and are operating out of mobile units around the courthouse; American Red Cross volunteers who are manning shelters and feeding thousands of residents and workers; and church groups that have traveled here to cook and serve meals and organize volunteer clean up crews.
There are no doubt many more who may never gain notice because they quietly come into town offering help and leave without accepting any repayment or recognition.
And at the heart of the generosity healing our community this week are neighbors who leave their own wrecked homes and businesses to help others without even being asked.
On first look, an observer may see our great losses, our frustrations and the work we have ahead of us, but just beyond all that is the strength we've discovered through this storm, both without and within.