The area in red is the Texas panhandle. Just think of Texas as a pan...it's where you'd naturally hold the pan--the pan.handle.
People in the Texas panhandle are a different breed. I was born and raised (not reared) in the area in red. We panhandle people are resilient, tough, adaptable and very much in-control. Panhandle people are so tough, we've just now admitted we're in a drought. We've been told for 5 years we're in a drought, but we're just now admitting it. We adapt. If cotton and wheat won't grow in a drought, we begin looking for something that will. Or we begin figuring out how we can sell tumbleweeds. (Yes, they're real.)
The people in Fritch have proven how resilient we are. They suffered through an F4 tornado in 1992. It was terrifying and very destructive. It took time to clean up and rebuild after that tornado. It was a flash in the pan as far as the media and nation were concerned. It didn't matter. The people pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps and linked arms and made it.
This small community has been hit hard. I was there yesterday and saw the people of Fritch pulling together once again. They've surrounded their wounded and are ready to defend them and protect them at all costs.
They hurt for their neighbors. They didn't wait for Red Cross, Salvation Army or the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief Team to show up. They just went to work helping those who were displaced. Individuals and churches in Fritch & Borger immediately began reaching out and helping. There were so many ways neighbors were helping neighbors, I know I'd miss something if I tried to enumerate everything that's been done.
Let me just say the fire victims were taken care of immediately as they were put in motels, given gift bags and gift cards at the motel. Snacks were taken to each motel. A clothing and food operation was opened in Fritch for those in need. Prom dresses were provided for girls who lost prom dresses. Hair cuts and styling were offered. Corsages and boutonnieres were offered by two different flower shops for Fritch prom go-ers. A local inflatable business offered a day of fun to the families who were anxiously waiting for the fire to be put out and to get back into the affected area. Homes were opened. Meals were cooked, pizzas were delivered, volunteers stepped up. It was amazing and just a little overwhelming!
And can I just say the fire fighters in the Texas panhandle are some of the toughest heroes you would ever hope to meet? If I could, I'd make a Superman cape for each one. They saved as many houses in the path of the fire as were lost. They fought hard. In fact, they were busy evacuating people so they could fight that fire. Not one life was lost due to the fire. NOT ONE!
Here's what I hope the tough, resilient, adaptable and very much in-control people of Fritch will do...I hope they'll let the rest of us help. There's something in all of us which wants and needs to give and help when we see someone hurting. That's why so much help has been offered. We NEED to help!
Fritch, it will be your turn to help some of the rest of us some day in the future. We hope you'll let us help you today.