About 14 hours after the tornado hit Hamilton April 13, I saw a completely different scene than from the early morning hours before then. Whereas flashing blue and red lights lit up the sky as first responders poured in throughout the night, volunteers were coming in droves the next afternoon to help.

I don’t think the sound of chainsaws buzzing really stopped during the time I spent in Hamilton the day of the storm. Even though there were fewer county employees and more volunteers squeezing their triggers as the day went, those people all shared one thing in common – they were there to help.

From the Pope to presidents and leaders throughout the world, the subject of climate change has come up much more often lately.

Whether you believe in it or not, it really does seem like severe weather is becoming more of the norm. Outside of the weather, we’re enduring plenty of other changing climates.

When I think back to flipping through the Aberdeen Examiner years ago, I remember it was a huge front page story when there was a marijuana arrest. Now, we’ve become so desensitized to that drug.

The way one person reacts to a certain kind of drug may garner a completely different reaction from somebody else, hence a changing climate.

Just as I hope we never get desensitized to crystal meth, heroin, cocaine or crack, I hope we never get completely desensitized to bad weather. It really doesn’t scare me, but I am conscious of it, especially seeing the damage it can do.

On the brighter side of its aftermath, it really brings out the best in people.

Taking pictures Wednesday afternoon, I watched a member of Belden Baptist Church thanking a resident for allowing his group the opportunity to volunteer their time to saw trees and move debris. He said it gave them the chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Their time together ended with a prayer, thanks and hugs.

This is Hamilton. This is Monroe County. This is north Mississippi. This is our culture.

We’re quick to say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ and even quicker to ask how we can help.

We have got so many changing climates around us like an out of state group wanting to sue over “In God We Trust” on license plates or professional athletes being offended over the American flag.

For the overwhelming majority, that’s not us around here.

For everyone out there keeping it humble and helpful, thank you for everything you do and please never change.

Ray Van Dusen is the managing editor of the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.

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