Arts are vital
Thank you for the two excellent articles on The Arts in your Forever Young section.
We certainly welcome Andrew Sandall as the new leader of the Museum of Arts & Sciences.
He has done an excellent job and comes at a most opportune time.
He has a full plate with all the new projects and expansions.
The arts are a vital component to the quality of life of our area.
They need all the time, talent and treasure that we can give them.
The arts generate a large portion of revenue and tax income to the county.
We are fortunate to have Hyatt and Cici Brown, The Cultural Council and many others to lend their generous support.
Please continue your coverage of the arts and those who are involved in them.
Bob Dahlen, Ormond-by-the-Sea
Hurricane disaster worker reports to Union Congregational Church In Holly Hill
Robert Wood, Union Congregational Church member and FEMA contractor, shared details of his experiences doing mission work on Staten Island and Long Island following hurricane Sandy with an all-church dinner on Sunday, Dec. 2.
Mr. Wood had just completed three weeks in October and November in the declared disaster area, inspecting damaged properties and compiling data utilizing a formula provided by the government to assess the need for FEMA funds needed to assure the homes could become safe and secure.
After receiving his assignments, Mr. Wood immediately became aware of how difficult it would be to contact those in need since virtually all normal means of communication had been rendered inoperable.
Even driving was nearly impossible. Thus travel was frustratingly slow (sometimes he could only walk) due to traffic congestion, city storm damage and cold weather (including nine inches of snow). Further, he had to knock on the doors of the clients rather than calling ahead to set up appointments.
He was responsible for finding his own lodging, which was a challenge since all facilities were filled to overflowing. He was thankful when he made contact with a small community who offered shelter at a recreation center where several nights were spent sleeping on the floor. Mr. Wood said, "Every property inspected was found to be so damaged as to be unsafe and unsanitary due to the severity of the storm."
He found the scene completely chaotic, but "the great ethnic diversity of the people did not keep them from working well together and with a cheerful spirit" -- at least for the first two days. By the end of
Mr. Wood's time there he said, "there was a noticeable change as home and business owners became frustrated with the lack of timely assistance and the slow progress being made."
Mr. Wood shared one amusing story of a homeowner who reported that he had "squatters" in his home. When they went to check the situation, they found a 26-foot boat in the living room, and the boat owners refusing to abandon their boat.
He said, "This was the most difficult experience of my life due to the chaos and the lack of sleep night after night." He had great praise for his fellow workers who were skilled and tireless as well as for the people who showed a remarkably good spirit under terrible circumstances.
When Mr. Wood left Long Island, he drove 20 hours straight back to Florida to be with his partner of many years, who was facing immediate cancer surgery.
Rev. John Nutting, Holly Hill