Disaster situation handled well

By Clyde Davis: Local Columnist

We have read and heard a great deal about the tornado that swept through our town March 23. It seems inappropriate not to add to that, pulling out some of the positive things that meant we as a community pulled together to weather this situation.

Only one radio station was able to stay on the air, and that station did an incredible job monitoring the situation. In the aftermath of the event, I was driving down Sycamore Street to check on my granddaughter and her brothers, and the guidance coming from that station enabled me not only to know which way to go, but which way not to go. They jumped in there and covered in the best tradition of live local media.

The newspaper didn’t miss a beat in continued publishing and coverage. Not only was the coverage complete, but the amazing part was that not a daily edition was missed while the event was being sorted out.

The city government and county government stepped to the plate and took leadership. The emergency response department, the police, and the political infrastructure led, not followed, in getting things organized and implemented.

As a result, potential for chaos and confusion were minimized. People and groups were not stumbling over each other and duplicating efforts.

The news staff at KVII Channel 7 out of Amarillo did an amazing job of minute-by-minute updates, so that we knew what was happening. This is worth noting because it came on so suddenly, and yet it seemed we had plenty of time to be prepared and take shelter and appropriate measures.

What was it like for you? You probably should write down your response before you forget it. We were hiding in the bathroom, and when it swept over our house, it seemed as if a UFO were coming overhead, or some gigantic airborne monster. The weirdest part was knowing that something was passing over and not being able to see anything.

There are always two ways to respond to a disaster. One is to complain about what has happened, and wonder why you have it so badly. The other is to take stock of the situation and figure out what to do next. One is obviously more productive.

It will take a while to sort out the situation and decide what needs to be done, but having lived in this community since 1997, I can pretty well predict that Clovis as a whole, and the surrounding area, will be figuring out how to cope with rebuilding, not obsessing over what occurred.