Saturday, June 18th re-established my faith in the Atchison community. It started with the response to the Forest of Friendship and Juneteenth events. It is always good to see the community involved. But it was walking along the river taking pictures for the Flood Watch feature that I saw a great example of kindness.
As I approached the boat dock area a gentleman was looking hard at the grass. As I approached he asked if I had seen some car keys. He had lost his and he thought it was in the area. I hadn't so I told him so and started to move on. About this time a couple crossed River Road from Independence Park. They asked if he had lost some keys and held a set out in from of them. They had found some keys and noticed a minivan of the same make. They guessed by his behavior he had lost something. They took the time to return the keys they had found lying on the sidewalk.
I got home, feeling good about Atchison. I decided it was time to eat and started the barbecue grill. The next thing I knew the attic was on fire. The Shannon Volunteer Fire Department responded quickly and very professionally. The fire had gotten into the insulation and was smoldering. The firemen went after it. They got the fire out. While fighting it, water in the insulation brought the ceiling down. The firemen went to work and moved all the important pieces of furniture out of the house and out of harms way. These volunteers just reinforced my belief in the great things people do for each other.
While the fire was still going, Kim Bottorff of the Red Cross arrived. I looked down from the deck and found this friend in the driveway. She was there to give water to the firemen and see if there was anything my family needed.
Do to the heat, the firemen were concern with melted wiring. Dennis Lowe came up on a Saturday night. He checked the wiring, cut what was bad. It wasn't long and we had electricity again.
Rea Laflin, came to check the damage shortly after my call. He recognized the situation and immediately started the process for restoration.
Then it was necessary to take care of all the items we moved out of the living, dining, and kitchen areas that was destroyed by the fire. Although the furniture was out side, it was still loaded with breakables. We also needed to find a place to store them other than outside on the deck. J Genail volunteered to get their covered trailer to temporarily keep the pieces. Friends and family pitched in, packed the breakables and loaded the furniture.
Through out the day I found acts of kindness everywhere. From the group marching to celebrate the end of slavery to a couple who took a minute to help a stranger with his keys. Then there are to important people in an emergency. The volunteer firefighters who jump in to save what is important. For me it was the ten or so who went from fighting the fire to moving furniture. There is the Red Cross there to help. The list goes on. Unfortunately, communities are often judged only by what is in the headlines. The real measure of a community are the small acts of kindness done by the people that live there. Atchison has a lot of people that give of themselves.