give a hoot for a life without passion and
drama…a future with no heroes.”
were probably spoken by the great Gen.
George Patton as he and all of the other
Allied forces marched through Europe, doing
for those people what they couldn’t do for
themselves…be free from Nazi occupation and
about what it must have been like for those
long-suffering people to hear the roar, to
look down the road and to see those
approaching Allied tanks and soldiers.
I was a child
during World War II but I remember hearing
the radio reports and seeing the newsreels.
I remember the
images of people lining the sides of the
roads, dancing and singing, waving flags and
throwing flowers…passion and drama on an
area is no stranger to natural disasters. I
remember working for the Central Virginia
Electric Cooperative (CVEC) a long time ago
and helping with the recovery from Hurricane
Gracie in September of 1959.
My role in
that recovery was very small but I was there
and I saw what it was like.
I saw the
noble work of the men and women of CVEC,
some of the greatest people I have ever
known. That same tradition continues to
Gracie was rated as the strongest and most
intense hurricane since Hurricane Hazel in
I remember how
it spawned a tornado that devastated an area
to the south and west of Charlottesville, an
area roughly from Hickory Hill to Ivy.
Tractor-trailers were overturned on U.S.
29. In Ivy, 12 members of one family died
as a result of Hurricane Gracie
afternoon, July 3rd, those of us
on Hickory Creek heard the roar, looked down
the road and saw our liberators coming. It
was a line crew from the Mecklenburg
Before dark on
that evening, they had our power back on.
In the Mecklenburg crew, Craig Phelps is the
foreman, Norman Rose is a first-class
lineman, Andy Epperson is an apprentice
lineman and Adam Brewer is a groundman.
I already had
a special place in my heart for Mecklenburg
County. My best buddy in the Army was from
there…La Crosse, to be exact.
We were such
close friends that 50 years later, I still
remember his service number.
In the time of
natural disasters, it is the human element
that rises to the occasion, above and beyond
the call of duty…the heroes of our time.
I wish I had
the pictures and names of all of the people
who toiled under withering conditions to
bring us out of this difficulty, but I
All I can do
is try to express my gratitude to all of
them for all that they have done.
I can only
offer a heartfelt “Thank You.”