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As difficult and inconvenient as the past week has been for many residents of Taylor County, it has been an enlightening week as well.
With the ice storm of last Tuesday - and then the inch and a half of snow that followed the very next day - more than half a million people across the state lost electricity. Though Taylor County didn't get the worst of what Mother Nature had to offer, we still had thousands without electricity and heat.
There have been multiple stories of neighbors helping neighbors and even those helping strangers. Utility workers, road crews and National Guardsmen have spent untold hours in the cold and wind, going above and beyond their normal work responsibilities to get residents back online.
Shelters opened to house and feed those who needed it. Family members and friends welcomed others into their homes.
When a community can turn a disastrous event like an ice storm into an opportunity to help others, it truly shows what a caring community we live in.
As is the nature of an ice storm, the real problems didn't begin until the storm had passed. Trees and power lines eventually gave in to the extra weight of the ice, leaving several thousand without power and phone service. E-911 was even down for about five hours. Schools were closed and events were canceled.
It was a disaster with a ray of light.
"There were a lot of cases of people helping people. It's been a true community effort," said Taylor County Judge/Executive Eddie Rogers.
Though most people may have returned to their homes, the recovery isn't over. In the northern end of the county, the devastation is widespread and there is plenty more work to be done. Numerous trees are down in yards throughout the area and not everyone is able to handle the cleanup themselves.
Let's keep the community spirit alive. Let's continue to help our neighbors and friends.