Tags: Community & Outreach
January 31, 2014So yes, we are Georgia.
We are not experts in how to deal with snow. Get over it America. We are, however, experts in helping each other out.
I'm sure we all agree that if school was called off for Tuesday, we could have avoided most of what happened last week. After the national criticism the Georgia school systems received in the last few years for closing schools because it was too cold or for the very threat of a couple inches of snow, our school systems were probably a bit gun shy about calling off school. I don't think they'll have that problem going forward.
By sheer coincidence, the Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce scheduled Georgia Department of Transportation Commissioner Keith Golden to speak at its Eggs and Enterprise Breakfast last Tuesday morning. During his speech, he said their biggest concern was that this storm kept moving and they did not have a clear indication of exactly where it was going to hit. I felt for him on Wednesday as I watched Golden, Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed get hammered by reporters on CNN.
The bottom line is this: the last time this happened was 31 years ago. I don't think anyone would vote to spend the $1 billion it would take to outfit the entire metro area with enough sand spreaders and snow plows to properly prepare and clean up all the streets. So, we are Georgia; we don't do snow. I'm not expecting us to be experts in events that happen once every 31 years. That said, local school boards have my permission to risk being over-cautious the next time we have snow in the forecast for the middle of the day.
There were hard-to-hear stories like babies being born on I-285, and my wife Brenda spending five hours driving from her school in Alpharetta to my sons' schools in Roswell, followed by another six hours back to our house. I drove for an hour and spent the evening with my boss's family. Others had it much worse.
But there were great stories too. The principal and some teachers stayed all night with students at Cogburn Woods Elementary – and other schools – until every last student was safe at home. Bus drivers spent hours navigating the ice AND managing a bus-load of impatient students. My friend Beau Miller spent two days in his 4-wheel drive sport utility vehicle finding people to drive home – and he found them all over. He walked into the East Roswell Home Depot and found a large group of stranded people and got to say, "Hey, anybody need a ride?"
I'm ignoring CNN, Matt Lauer and Al Roker.
Yes, things got harried, but we pulled together and helped each other out.
I've heard of Boston Strong – I guess we are Atlanta Tough. Nice work gang!