When Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans and the levees broke, ushering the gulf waters in, the silent heroes of the Coast Guard also swept into the city.
Members of the guard made 24,000 rescues and evacuated 9,000 from hospitals and nursing homes. Helicopters and boats were quickly deployed. These units ran 24 hours a day for a week. Approximately 4,000 were pulled from the rooftops of their submerged homes. Barges were commandeered to load survivors who had been stranded on broken levees.
“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.” —Proverbs 15:3
Coast Guard Lt. Chris Huberty, a chopper pilot on the night shift, reported, “We’d put a rescue swimmer down to determine who needed to be taken away. I’d see three women, all healthy adults, and a guy in a wheelchair who was a diabetic; I’d say he needs insulin, let’s get him out of here first. The others might have to wait. As many bad stories as you hear about looting, there were plenty of people sacrificing for others. I can’t tell you how many times a man would stay behind an extra day or two on the roof and let his wife and kids go first. It broke my heart. We’d go to an apartment building and you’d see someone in charge, organizing the survivors. We’d tell him, ‘We can only take five,’ and they’d sort out the worst cases. It happened many times that the guy in charge was the last to leave.”
In any tragedy, we can find the worst of human behavior, but we can also find the best of us as well. As you serve, be inspired that you are representing our best.
GOOD SHEPHERD, help me to believe the best about people, look for the best in people, and expect the best in people. And may people expect—and find—the best from me.