Op-Ed By: Congressman Joe Wilson
Throughout October, our state has been tested by the devastating effects of a thousand-year rainfall and tragic flooding. While our citizens have faced adversity before, the unprecedented rain created widespread destruction that affected all corners of the state.
While inspired by our state’s resilience, I mourn those who lost their lives in the flooding and keep the families who lost their homes, businesses and vehicles to damage in my thoughts.
It would be easy, even understandable, for us to be resigned to the tragedy that has overwhelmed families, homes and businesses. But that isn’t how our citizens respond to adversity.
South Carolina, a state rich with history, has been blessed with two mottos: Animis Opibusque Parati and Dum Spiro Spero.
These mottos have guided and uplifted our state during times of struggle and continue to guide us in the face of this tragedy.
The first – Animis Opibusque Parati – means “Prepared in Mind and Resources.” Advanced and early preparations after National Weather Service alerts were critical to our recovery efforts. Governor Nikki Haley and Adjutant General Bob Livingston took warnings seriously, and helped prepare and lead the state through this difficult time. I am grateful for our well trained and devoted first response teams and our local media who worked tirelessly to provide assistance and information to our state. Our preparedness in mind and resources has produced an outstanding response to this disaster.
The second motto – Dum Spiro Spero – means “While I Breathe I Hope.” This tragedy has reiterated to me the strength and character of South Carolina. I was filled with hope by the inspirational, spontaneous acts of volunteers such as Frank Roddey, Ryan Truluck, Drew Bozard and Zack Hudson and dozens of others who rescued residents by boat from their submerged homes around the Midlands. I was touched by local organizations and churches who rallied volunteers, charities like the Red Cross who operated 26 shelters and have distributed over 13,000 clean up kits, and the Salvation Army who has donated over 50,00 meals during the crisis. These acts have breathed hope into the hearts of South Carolinians whose lives were disrupted by this tragedy.
I am hopeful for a quick and full recovery and I urge individuals to apply for disaster relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and for disaster loans for their homes and small businesses from the Small Business Administration (SBA). More information and contact details are available on the website www.joewilson.house.gov/flood.
I am grateful for the strength and of our state and I pray our citizens will never be forced to endure another natural disaster or tragedy in our community. But, I am comforted in knowing that if we are tested once more, our citizens will, yet again, respond with resilience and grace.
God Bless South Carolina.
Animis Opibusque Parati. Dum Spiro Spero.