Andy’s dramatic post-hurricane story describes the gratification gained from helping in a time of crisis:
In the fall of 2004, the beginning of my senior year of high school, hurricanes Charley, Francis, Ivan, and Jeanne pounded the state of Florida. My hometown is centrally located between the east and west coasts, sheltered by miles of land from tidal surges and the fiercest winds of the storms. However, that is not to say that we went unaffected. The days before and after the brunt of the storms were still plagued with incessant rain.
One or possibly two storms in a season would have caused no serious problem; that would have been normal. But four? The infrastructure of the city was not designed to withstand so much rain and wind in such a short time.
By the time the third storm approached, parking lots and streets were under water. Neighborhoods around town were flooded, cars were submerged, and trees were uprooting from the completely saturated soil.
My father and I decided to drive through the neighborhood just down the road from our house and see what damage the storm had done to our area. As we drove along the streets there was not too much to see. There were some downed trees in yards, leaves and small branches everywhere, and flooded ditches. As we neared the back of the neighborhood I noticed a group of two or three men working with buckets, brooms, and a small pump on generator power to move the runoff water that was approaching a house. In an instant my father and I recognized one of the men and stopped immediately. The man so desperately trying to save his house from flooding was my dentist, Dr. Dutter. He has been my dentist as long as I can remember. I rode the same bus as two of his daughters in elementary school. We got out and Dr. Dutter came to greet us in the midst of his frantic effort to save his house (uninsured from floods) from the rising water. The problem was that they were unable to move the water fast enough and far enough away to make any progress.
I immediately headed back to my house where I grabbed a bucket and some old pool vacuum hose that we could attach to the pump and move the water across the street and into a ditch that drained into the woods. Even with all our efforts, the water still crept toward the low-lying house. One of Dr. Dutter’s friends called the industrial equipment rental places around town in search of a stronger pump.