Dear ABC news...You do us a disservice by referring to us as "Ritzy" Hilton Head Island
Being evacuated for a hurricane is very surreal. You flee to several states away and you are absolutely glued to the news, social media, the weather channel, desperate for whatever can give you the faintest bit of information on your beloved home. And then, in the aftermath when you are watching web cams trying to figure out if your house survived, you come across this article "Residents of Ritzy Hilton Head Island Happy to Be Alive" - ABC News. From reading that you would think we were all wealthy and had good insurance; you would not worry about us over here in "ritzy" Hilton Head. I really don't mean to slam this author; it's not their fault; they just don't have the full picture of who we are here in the low country. And actually, if I can be honest, I don't think I had the full picture until this past week. Here is what you don't think of when you hear Hilton Head took a direct hit from hurricane Matthew.
You don't think of no insurance or deductibles so high people can't afford to make a claim. You don't think of people living with water in their homes or trees through their bathrooms or no drinkable water. You don't think of people who no longer have places to live, and when their shelter moves to another town, can't afford to drive back to the island for their job. Or the man with the tree through his trailer who tells you not to worry, to go help someone else, that he can fix it with no crane, no chainsaw and you wonder how on earth he can ever repair a mound of twisted metal that used to be his roof. And yet, there is beauty even in destruction; there are neighbors and strangers coming together, to house, to feed, to help. Tragedy breaks down barriers. Suddenly, worlds are colliding.
Would I have ever encountered the occupant of this home before this? Who knows? I still don't know the identity of all the strangers that worked together to clear the trees off my house. When I was several states away leaving voicemails for tree services, I got a message that a team of strangers armed with chainsaws needed my permission to clear them for me. I drove for two hours with tears streaming down my face knowing I would be bringing my three small children back to a safe home.
When we got back to Bluffton, my family and I ventured out with our church into neighborhoods with far more devastation than ours. Never before have I seen a community come together to help one another in such a way. I would knock on a door with food and the person answering would try to send me to a neighbor in more dire need. The low country is known for its aesthetic beauty, but it's what lies beneath that is truly breathtaking....community that loves and cares for one another, that comes together in times of need. Churches doing what the church is called to do -- perspectives changing, lives changing. If Hilton Head is a RITZY island, it is because of the priceless gems that reside here. #Lowcountrystrong