The floods in the Midwest have been devastating to hundreds of communities, and the scenes of homes floating down swollen rivers are heartbreaking. Dozens of Iowa counties have been declared disaster areas, and President Bush visited the region Thursday. Yet the human spirit is enduring, as neighbors help neighbors and rush to the aid of their hometowns without waiting for government to come to the rescue.
Volunteers, as many as 800 of them in Cedar Falls, Iowa, are uniting within flooded cities and flocking from neighboring states to help fill sandbags, repair levees, clear debris and distribute food. The support and generosity from people around the country reflects the inherent goodness of mankind.
The historic floods are another reminder of how nature's wrath can touch any part of the country. With its hurricanes and wildfires, Floridians are familiar with the feelings of loss and desperation — and, yes, appreciation for the support and contributions from friends as well as strangers. Federal Emergency Management Agency officials say the federal response time to the flooding reflects the lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina. But when disaster strikes, the first help may well come from someone without a badge or an official title.
Floridians are only a couple of weeks into another hurricane season. At a time when Iowans and other families in the Midwest need all the help they can get, we should keep them in our thoughts and send along whatever we can. The next call for help may come from a Florida area code.