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Disaster relief and rebuilding

Editorial | October 1, 2017 | By:

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.
~Douglas Adams

Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Floods. Fire. It’s only September 18 as I write this, and this month is already on the record books. And, according to today’s paper, the atmospheric parade just keeps on coming, Atlantic and Pacific: Maria. José. Norma. Minnesota is generally safe from hurricanes (until climate change and rising ocean levels put Minneapolis on the east coast), but we have floods, fires, blizzards and tornadoes to keep us interesting for prospective Super Bowl visitors in February. Oddly enough, last week I was exchanging emails with Terri Madden (Sand Sea and Air Interiors, Puerto Rico), saying that tornadoes were at least an improvement over hurricanes because they’re not so widespread—and she emailed me back saying “we were having the tornado debate the other day also and decided we’d take hurricanes … go figure!” (And as I write this, Maria is on the way—so fingers crossed!)

It’s always a bit like an exercise in time travel to write an editorial before an event that won’t be read until after the event. Usually, when I write my last editorial before IFAI Expo, for example, I try to make some predictions about what will happen at the show, and trust that when readers actually see my message, I won’t look … severely underinformed.

But this year, IFAI Expo is taking place next week (Sept. 26–29), and for the first time in many years, I won’t be attending. At IFAI Expo 2012 in Boston, we had both exhibitors and attendees that couldn’t make it to the show due to damage from Hurricane Sandy. New Orleans didn’t suffer a direct hit from Harvey or Irma, to my knowledge, but the situation in Texas and Florida will certainly have an impact, not only on attendance but on business on the show floor. So I’ll shelve my “state of business” editorial until the November issue, with this year’s show coverage, and focus not just on building, but on rebuilding.

IFAI’s Member Message, sent today, was on “Rebuild together”: forming a network of support and a forum for communication for businesses whose operations, or whose customers’ operations, have suffered from fire, water and wind. Check in with your network and find people who can use your help, or who perhaps can help you; share your stories about aiding in the rebuilding process over the next few months (or years); if you make products for disaster relief or recovery efforts, tell us about your business, where it works and who it helps.

This month’s “Greater Good” tells the story of Seaman Corp. and its work with disaster relief organizations to shelter families in need. I’m hoping that assistant editor Sammi Jones and associate editor Elisa Bernick bring back a lot of these stories from New Orleans—but I hope you’ll contact us any time to let us know about how you’re serving your community, so we can share your story with the rest of our readers.

I won’t be sharing hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s this year … but Dallas must have some fun places. See you in October 2018.

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