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Marengo leaders want to lend a hand

LINDEN-While Hurricane Katrina had limited effects on Marengo County most residents would agree we were very lucky. Tuesday the Marengo County Commission reflected on the aftermath of Katrina and passed thanks to those who helped the area move through the storm without a hitch.

Kevin McKinney, Marengo County EMA director, said most of the problems the county encountered were minor.

“Most of our problems were based on down trees and down power lines,” McKinney said. “Our power was out a little longer this time than it was with Hurricane Dennis.”

McKinney said the county was qualified under public assistance, but not under individual assistance because there were really no displaced citizens. McKinney said at the peak of the storm there were close to 100 people in shelters in Demopolis and most had moved on to Alexander City. He said we should all be grateful for everyone who chipped in to work in shelters, on the roads an on power lines.

“The City of Linden and City of Demopolis have great people and really helped out a lot,” McKinney said. “But there were also some standup people out there working with Black Warrior Electric. They were really out there going after it and they should be commended.”

Commissioner Ken Tucker agreed thanks were in order.

“Of course we want to thank Kevin for being on top of things and all the other crews,” Tucker said. “They did a great job of working long and hard to get things cleaned up.”

Tucker said there have been a lot of mixed feelings following the storm. He said there had been some anger, but there had also been a great deal of compassion.

“The thing that is disconcerting to me about the aftermath of this is the blame game,” Tucker said. “There have been a lot of people pointing fingers at everybody else. What I think has been overlooked has been the capacity for compassion. So many people have stepped up and people have given what they could.”

Tucker said Marengo County and Alabama put forth a shining example of the compassion that could come from a tragic event.

“I am really proud of how the county has responded,” Tucker said. “I am also proud of how our state in particular has responded as far as our shelters and other aid. We should be proud of the group of people who have stepped up and tried to help their fellow man. I want to commend our folks for showing some of the best to come out of this storm.”

With the county taken care of, Commissioner Max Joiner said the commission should look at what they could do to provide help to other areas in need.

“Even though we have felt some of this we haven’t felt it like some other areas have,” Joiner said. “At the state meetings we were talking about several programs that were being put together so we could all join in with certain things.”

Joiner said it would be great if the county would explore avenues they could use to provide assistance to other governments.

“I think as a county commission we should work with a group to help out a fellow county or parish,” Joiner said. “I don’t have a concrete suggestion, but I do think in the aspect of human compassion that we should do something, even if it is joining hands with one of our local agencies. I am wide open, but I do feel that we should do something.”

Commission Chairman Freddie Armstead agreed. He said there could come a day when Marengo County would need some help. Armstead said it was important to help out their fellow leaders anytime they had a chance.

“That is what it is all about,” Armstead said. “People helping people out. It does us all a lot of good to know that we can work together to help each other out. It makes me feel good to see everyone willing to step up and help out because there will come a time when we will need that help too.”