Count Your Blessings

Kids Outdoor Outpost -October 2017

Joe Schuster | October 6, 2017

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma lashed our shores with incredible devastation in September. Huge amounts of wind and rain flooded and destroyed many homes as well as taking human lives. After the storms had subsided, we saw the devastation. Folks were inside what used to be their homes, scrounging around trying to save what was left of their belongings. They filled trash bags up with their clothes and pulled useable furniture outside. Others were inside with crowbars and hammers ripping apart drywall that was wet and ruined. But we also saw incredible gestures of kindness.

We saw people loading up their trucks with food, clothes and water and hooking up their bass boats, kayaks and canoes to travel south to immediately jump into relief efforts. The “Cajun Navy” embarked on their own private mission. You knew these folks were outdoorsman, many dressed in camo and hunting clothes and boots, as they worked tirelessly to save as many people as they could. The government could not keep up with the thousands of people that needed rescuing.

Some of you may remember Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that tore up New Orleans. The big difference between the rescue efforts? Social Media. In 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone, and social-media sites like Facebook and Twitter took off.

The private rescue groups relied on a new app called “Zello” that works like a walkie-talkie on cellphone data usage or WiFi. In this case, there was a channel actually named The Cajun Navy. Another group started a website called “Houston Harvey Rescue” that was unique in that it allowed people who needed animal rescue to provide their location and assign themselves a color depending how bad the situation was.

Hurricane Irma hit our state pretty hard, with a large amount of property damage, downed trees and power outages. Several people died, and I happened to personally  know one of them as she attended our church. Prayers to their family. But most of us simply had to endure losing power, which usually meant no TV. Cell towers were damaged, and that affected cell service. Even if you had service, you might not have been able to charge your devices. Maybe you had to miss a shower or two. You might of had to replace the spoiled food in your refrigerator. But after a few days, the pace seemed to get back to normal. So how bad was it for you? The perspective is that if you still have two arms, two legs and all of your senses, you are OK.

I quickly am reminded of last month’s GON story on Public Wheelchair Hunts. Stories of hunters who are wheelchair bound. Did that stop them from hunting? No, it did not. A huge amount of thanks go out to all those who volunteer to make those hunts, like the one at River Bend WMA, a reality. We are so blessed to live in a state like Georgia that has one on the longest deer seasons and with one of the biggest deer harvest quotas.

So when you wake up a little grouchy on a Saturday, take a moment to think about those folks a lot less fortunate than you who can’t go out to hunt that morning. Take a deep breath of that fresh air when you get into your stand, and count your blessings. Good luck, and stay safe this season.

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