We owe a debt of gratitude to storm volunteers from across the nation

When Hurricane Laura touched down in our state, it unleashed a wave of winds that brought destruction primarily in Acadiana, but also in every part of the state.

It also unleashed a wave of volunteerism that swept across our state with equal power. We saw people with volunteer spirit showing up from across the country, sleeping in RVs, and working from sunup to sundown to help distressed areas all over the parish.

There have been times when our community has loaded up vans, trucks, and emergency vehicles to help distressed people in other communities. Some were critical of those who traveled to Texas, Mississippi, and other areas to help with storm relief instead of focusing on home. Those who received this community’s help were grateful.

Since Hurricane Laura, our parish has been peppered with nearly 200 hundred volunteers that have traveled from as far away as Virginia and Oklahoma to help our parish recover in the aftermath of one of the state’s worse hurricanes.

A large number of volunteers were part of outreach ministries of the Church of Jesus Christ for Latter Day Saints (Mormons). They brought supplies and human resources that proved valuable to areas stumbling to find their way in the dark.

Another large group of volunteers worked through the national network of the Church of Christ. They cut trees, removed debris and brought words of cheer to neighborhoods across the parish. Armed with buzz saws, bottles of water, and an attitude of service, they joined the small army of volunteers that tried to help.

There were caravans of “Helping Hands” that did everything from bringing boxes of food and supplies to delivering meals to sick and shut-ins.

Many of the city leaders were on the frontline, knocking on doors and bringing words of encouragement. The city public works teams, firefighters, and others worked tirelessly to help. Local restaurants donated food and water for volunteers and scores of local churches panned the community bringing help and encouragement to all.

At a time when negativity is increasing, Hurricane Laura’s aftermath swept in a wave of kindness that brought hope and inspiration, many of who had given up on the intrinsic goodness of their neighbors.

The volunteers helped without regard to race, color creed, or politics. They reached out to as many as they could even into the late hours of the night bringing a message of help, compassion and relief to all.

It the aftermath of the storm Louisiana residents felt the compassion and love of their neighbors and friends from across the country, many of whom left Monroe on their way to other cities to bring cheer and helping hands.

All of them whether they had a religious affiliation or not were God’s hands and feet, instruments of his compassionate will to respond to people in need.

To all of them, we say thanks for a job well done.