Dave Richards for August 29th…………
--Last Saturday I picked up The Call and was delighted at what I saw on the front page. Once again the Autumnfest Steering Committee shows its collective brilliance in the choice of Woonsocket Fire Chief Paul Shatraw as the Grand Marshal of the 2017 Autumnfest Parade. What a great choice!
Paul and I had first met each other when we both worked for Dave Daniels’ Save-Rite store which was at the time located at 84 Social Street, the present location of Woonsocket’s Senior Center.
Both Paul and I left Save-Rite to pursue our respective careers back then, and we were out of each other’s obits for years until just recently when he agreed to play the part of King Jace for our Woonsocket Mardi Gras. My admiration for Paul increased as I watched him take real pride supporting the arts in our city. Compared to me, he’s a quiet man, but you can tell when you are with him the deep feeling he has for helping others and his pride in our area. What a deserving honor for such a great man!
I’m looking very much forward to watching Paul pass by in the Autumnfest Parade this October!
--I mentioned this next thought to a group of people over the weekend and ruffled a few feathers. But I sincerely believe in what I’m about to say, so I will risk ticking-off a few more people against the chance that someone might benefit from the thought.
I’m sure everyone reading this knows the trouble that the former hurricane Harvey continues to cause today in southeast Texas. To be sure, residents there are suffering more than just upheaval in their lives. I heard a report from a resident there who expressed out loud they thought they would have been better off if Harvey were a category 5 hurricane when it arrived, but had moved inland quickly. You can understand that. The worst storms are storms that are not necessarily the strongest, but those which move slowly away or stall overhead.
What disturbed me over this weekend, and what precipitates this comment, is the irrational jump to start fundraising before the storm is even over. It’s not the idea of sending relief to people in need, of course, but it’s the timing of the whole thing this past weekend which concerned me. The storm isn’t even over, we don’t know the full scope of the destruction or even the needs of the residents there and yet people can’t wait to make public pledges.
As an example, there was an entertainer last Sunday who pledged on social media that he would give $25,000 and challenged all other entertainers to do the same. Yikes.
I’m sure there will be a need for this generosity, at one point in time or another. But before the storm is over? That’s the part I question.
It has been my experience that during the course of storm recovery the government is first in and they tackle the biggest issues. They are followed closely by the American Red Cross. Each of those institutions has different abilities and limitations and work well together. Later, other organizations come in to try to ‘fill in the gaps’ to address the needs which are still not filled due to the limitations of the others. I’m thinking if I gave big too early, I wouldn’t be in a position to help later when previously unaddressed needs require my assistance.
I think you see the point I’m making is that when another person is hurting, we feel a strong desire to assist. This is good, but we must balance our urgent desire to help quickly with the understanding that southeast Texas will be in need of help for many months to come. So I say to use your head, control irrational exuberance, and pace yourself.
I want to say one last thing on this subject, and, again I really hate to bring this up, but you just know there will be creeps perpetrating scams out there soon. They will solicit money in the name of Harvey relief that instead will mostly or completely go into the private pockets of the scam artists. To the extent you can do so, scrutinize each request. Yes, listen to your heart, but don’t let your heart speak louder to you than your head.
Be careful out there………….
--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.
Thanks for reading!