Hurricane Recovery, An Ultra-Marathon

Like you, I witnessed the recent devastation of Hurricane Harvey along the Gulf Coast and of Hurricane Irma in Florida. My thoughts go back to my experience as Chief of the US Army Corps of Engineers in the recovery effort after Hurricane Katrina. That recovery was a multi-year marathon that took incredible teamwork, perseverance, resources, and people helping people. The recovery time and bill for Hurricane Harvey and Irma could be several multiples of what we experienced in Katrina, an ultra-marathon! There have been hundreds of stories of incredible heroics by search and rescue teams, first responders, neighbors helping neighbors, and people from all over the US coming to help. There is much to be done, and this phase of the recovery will tax our stamina, perseverance, and resources. Most of all, it will test our character.

While everyone wants to get “back to normal," my hope is that the selfless and sacrificial service we have witnessed on all fronts will become the “new normal” for the recovery marathon. May we give strength to each other to rebuild. We are better as a team than we are by ourselves!

LTG Robert VanAntwerp, US Army, Ret.

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