Over the past few years it seems there is a growing disconnect between political pundits and real world America. Some politicians have said that small town Americans “cling to their guns and religion.” Others have referred to them as “deplorable” which means racist, sexist or homophobic. Since much of the information that we have access to comes through major media channels dominated by these pundits, I am afraid that many Americans have a misunderstanding of small town America and what it stands for.
This past week disaster struck when a series of tornadoes swept through South Georgia. Our family farm, which is in the small town of Damascus, Ga was right in the path of destruction. The funnel went directly through our two cabins that were housing several close family members including my grandparents, mom, wife and two children. It completed demolished a close by screened in porch area where we often congregate and left both cabins covered with fallen trees and debris. One of the trees actually protruded through the roof and into the living room where my grandparents were sitting. Once the deadly tornado had moved through, my family was stuck in the bathroom with no power, no water and completely inaccessible due to the massive amount of fallen trees and debris on the road ways going in and out.
What happened next was unlike anything we have ever seen. Clay Crawford and Eugene Mennette, who are local friends of ours, made a few phone calls to people in the community to let them know what had happened. At day break the next morning it seemed the entire town of Damascus was at the entrance of our property ready to lend a helping hand. Kevin Tabb brought his excavator to move the fallen trees from the roads. Clay Crawford brought his equipment and members of his tree company to remove the trees off the roof and Eugene Mennette brought the members of his landscape company to clear and load debris. Hank Haddock, who is a local farmer, brought his team as well to pitch in. These heroes, and many more that are going unnamed, dropped whatever they had planned for the day to help out a group of Atlanta folks in their time of need. By 4pm the next afternoon, the entire place was spotless and you could not even tell that the tornado had struck. They did all of this for our family and all they asked for in return was a few bottles of water while they worked.
This is a great example of what small town America is all about. Small town Americans know that faith, family and friends are most important and they don’t compromise their beliefs just because someone on TV calls them deplorable. Small town Americans act when people in their community are in need regardless of what is on their schedule. Small town Americans are not afraid to take a stand when something isn’t right. These traits sound strikingly similar to our founding fathers.
My message to the political pundits is that small town Americans are some of our finest and you would serve yourself well to start listening to them. And I can assure you that when disaster strikes, small town America is who you want in your foxhole. Thank you to all of those that lent a helping hand in our time of need and God bless small town America!