NOTE: FRANK is a retired Marine. The sender was a subordinate in Vietnam.
Sent: Friday, September 09, 2011 11:09 AM
Subject: RE: Concerned
Thank you Robert, that is both a kind and generous thought. I live right outside of Austin, Texas in a smaller city named Pflugerville, and the fires have been all around us, but not close to my home or that of my daughter who lives in Austin proper. Last night I gave clothing and other necessary items to a nearby church group collecting clothing as well as everything else to include even towels for showering or bathing in the shelters, and still needed by the many who lost all of their belongings.
The large fire in Bastrop County, which is adjacent to our own county of Travis, was hit hardest with the loss of some 1400 homes. Sadly, many of those homes belonged to Austin firefighters, police officers, and EMT personnel, as they were on duty elsewhere and were unable to protect their own homes. Their family members could do little, since they were forced to leave their homes by authorities and in order to prevent casualties (although several fatalities have occurred from the fires).
And so many policemen and firefighters and EMT workers now have only the clothing they were wearing while directing traffic or fighting the fires elsewhere, and while away from their own homes which were destroyed in the fires. Many are now living in shelters and so simple things like towels, shoes, etc, that we do normally think about, all of a sudden become important items for many, and of course there is also a great need for diapers and children items of all sorts including baby food, as it will be many, many, months if not a year or more, before a lot of these folks will be able to leave the various shelters, and then try to restart their lives once again.
Many of the above professionals and non professionals moved to Bastrop County, because it was cheaper to live there and also it is more of the country rather than city atmosphere, coupled with better schools and overall more reasonable living costs. However losing all one has and have worked for, is a devastating loss for all family members, and while insurance will help it does not pay the entire cost of rebuilding homes nor the loss of personal items. And so whatever savings they have will have to be dipped into, and this is a bad economic time for this to have occured on top of the actual devastating and complete losses of their homes and possessions.
Robert as my one time machine gunner in Vietnam and a professional retired police officer as well, you know full well what it means to lose everything of consequence that you own, and so you can well imagine what it must be like for many of these people. So I am asking for any assistance for others that you, or your friends, or groups might be able to provide for those who have suffered the greatest loses in most cases in their lifetimes. We read or hear about about these kinds of things in foreign countries and even occasionally here in the USA, and while we can feel empathy or sympathy for those folks they are far removed from us, and so we might say a prayer for them but there is little else we can do or afford to do, and so most simply rely on other charitable groups to handle those issues.
Here we are speaking of a large number of our own citizens, and more specifically for many of our own first responders, and so any assistance that anyone can provide will be most appreciated by many here. This is not unlike the disasters that I suggested people try to prepare for, whether natural disasters or man-made ones. But in an unstoppable windblown fire like this one, all of the preparations one might have planned for would not have helped in a situation like this one, since it happened too fast for people to do much beyond removing themselves from the scene, and taking what little they could quickly gather in the short period that they were given to evacuate from the fire areas.
Like I said, just notifying others who might be able help out is good enough as some might be able to respond with some kind of help. Thanks for your concerns for me and my family members, and as I said above we are doing fine, but many, many others are dealing with some very unplanned for events in their lives, and even at a time when the fires continue to burn around their present locations. For many it might as well have been a WMD attack, but fortunately the health issues associated with such events are perhaps the only silver lining in this unfortunate event.
With the upcoming holiday season it will be a bleak period for many, but they are resilient American citizens and will weather the storm so to speak, and most will someday get their lives back in order. For now, many are confused, scared, and unknowing of the future. Many local charities here prefer food stamps, or gift coupons to that of cash or checks, since the latter adds an additional burden of accountability in handling those monies. That is, with the exception of the Red Cross which does take money donations-and it always does.
To me, this is the time for churches, charitable institutions, as well as veterans organizations to show their stuff, and provide the assistance when it is most needed. True, these are not the only disaster or incidents across our nation, but for us here in Texas it is a very real and nearby catastrophe for many, and we know without question that assistance is very much needed for many of our local citizens as well as for many of our first responders.
I’m sorry that I can’t provide a better report than the above as many of the fires are still ongoing, and so my information is pretty much that which you read or hear about via the different news outlets. We can’t help all, but some were in tears just to receive ill fitting clothing, and especially that for their children as well as some of the elderly, and with some still remaining in the clothing and small items that they took with them when they evacuated their homes. Thanks again for your thoughts and concerns.-R/S-
Sent: Friday, September 09, 2011 8:04 AM
Good Morning Major, I didn`t know exactly what part of Texas you live in, but watching the news about the fires i have become very concerned about you and your family, I hope you, and the family are not in harm`s way but if you are, I have every confidence you have a handle on things major, please reply , and let me know if I can do anything to assist , SF Bob