City of Central Has Never Shined More Brightly
Despite the greatest tragedy in the history of Central, the people of this community have survived. Many thousands have lost their homes and even now are without a permanent dwelling. Most of the losses were uninsured and will not be reimbursed by anyone.
Yet, the people of this community have demonstrated an indominable spirit. They sprung into action to save one another without being ordered or directed to do so. After the water receded, they immediately gutted and cleaned their houses. Working together using mostly volunteer labor, they have preserved their homes. Many with great losses have rallied to help neighbors who are in even worse shape. Now people are repairing and rebuilding their homes.
The Central school system reopened on Tuesday with 4,478 student. Amazingly, this is almost identical to the number who started school last year.
Throughout this crisis, Central Mayor Jr. Shelton has been a rock for this community. Working tirelessly, he has coordinated the delivery of food, supplies, and information to the people of Central, who have been in desperate need. Like the Mayor, the Central City Council and the staff of the city and of IBTS have been magnificent.
Congressman Garret Graves, the Central Police Department, Sheriff Sid Gautreaux, Clerk Doug Welborn, Assessor Brian Wilson, Coroner Beau Clark, Councilman Scott Wilson, Sen. Bodi White, and Reps. Valarie Hodges and Barry Ivey have done a great job! Despite having lost his own home, Supt. Mike Faulk pulled off another of his miracles by getting school open again.
Central has helped those ravaged by 9/11 and Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav. But that help has been more than repaid by generous aid from people all over America. Billy Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse has been at the forefront of providing help. Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump came almost immediately to bring aid and attention to our plight.
Most of all, our churches have been a beacon of hope for Central!
There is great love and great resilience here, and it is certainly needed even now because the crisis is far from over. Many thousands of our people remain in great need.
I want to thank some dear friends who did so much to help save my wife’s office, which was under four feet of water: James and Candi Lee and their crew, the Central High football team and coaches, and our own family. Your kindness will never be forgotten!