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Telegram editorial for June 17

Storms' aftermath brings out best in many people

Perhaps the old saying "Everyone talks about the weather but nobody can do anything about it" is essentially true. But we know that something can, and is, being done about the unfortunate losses and damage suffered as a result of the recent severe thunderstorms.

High winds, hail and torrential rains -- even a confirmed tornado four weeks ago -- have wreaked havoc in north central West Virginia, as well as other parts of the Mountain State.

Yet the violent weather has been a blessing in one respect: It has brought out neighbor helping neighbor, something we'd like to see more of today.

Despite an unusually mild winter, few could argue that this spring has been one of the worst on record in many counties. The toll has been tremendous.

In the Memorial Day weekend tornado that swept through Sardis, Upper Lambert's Run, Hepzibah and Farnum Road, two families were left homeless.

Personnel from electric power, telephone, water and TV cable companies have made earnest attempts to be as prompt under the circumstances as possible to restore service to thousands of customers.

Offices of emergency services in Harrison and surrounding counties have performed yeoman deeds, quickly dispatching fire and EMS crews to areas in greatest need of assistance. This was especially true this past Tuesday when the 911 center was besieged with calls, yet managed to send help to those who experienced structural damage from high winds, vehicular damage from large hail and flash flooding due to monsoon-like rains.

Firefighters helped with clearing trees, branches and other debris from streets and roadways.

Yet to us, most heartening of all was the way people reacted to seeing others in their times of great need -- the way they've followed through from the time of comforting people over their losses up until the cleanup is virtually complete.

Although it may have paled in comparison with the total destruction of the town of Spencer, S.D., when a deadly tornado struck there, individuals in this area have chipped in to help total strangers, as well as friends and acquaintances. Perhaps this was because, chances are, either they or someone else close to them has suffered similar devastation or loss.

It may tend to restore our faith in human nature to witness the kind of cooperation that we've described here.

But we have to wonder: Why must it often take a disastrous situation like the results of a violent storm to evoke such a selfless spirit in so many of us?

How much better off we'd all be if this same cooperative attitude would be evident in us all -- business and government personnel as well as private citizens.

--Robert F. Stealey