WE ARE SO PROUD OF BUFFALO
These folks in Buffalo make me proud to be a New Yorker.
In the face of an unprecedented monster storm, with the undrifted snow standing higher than a man’s head, they have pushed on with good spirits and determination, neither bemoaning their fate nor whining for outside help.
They have stood up, offered a wry quip or two, and got on with the hard work of digging themselves and their neighbors out.
No complaints, no self-pity, no victim mentality.
Just salt-of-the-earth people taking an unprecedented wallop from Mother Nature.
Over three days, the Lake Erie snow-plume areas south and east of Buffalo, New York, have gotten more snow than they get in most winters. It has been a season crammed into half a week, and all of that a month before the official start of winter.
The steady torrent of lake-effect snow has stalled an economy, shut down a superhighway, and put a region back on its heels. At least 10 are dead, more than a million are inconvenienced, and it’s not over yet.
In fact, after yesterday’s second round of heavy snow, the next four days are supposed to be rainy and above freezing. That means collapsed roofs and street flooding; that means we may not have seen the worst of this yet.
And yet, how are we doing?
Pretty damn well, thank you very much.
The people of Western New York are greeting the world’s TV cameras with a smile and a can-do attitude. They are clearing their walks and unburying their cars and tending their neighbors.
They are going forward.
And they are showing America how it’s supposed to be done. They are reminding this country how we face adversity – with good cheer, optimism, faith, neighborliness and hard work.
And from across the state, New Yorkers are showing that you don’t have to live near people to be their neighbor. From municipality after municipality, and from state Transportation Department yards across the region, armies of plows and giant snow blowers have formed up for the trip to Erie County, to dig out our friends.
Seeing lines of road plows rumble toward the west puts a lump in your throat, and knowing that the men and women who drive them care only about helping just plain makes you proud.
Fire departments have sent crews and equipment, companies have helped where they can, and the job of anticipating and forestalling problems continues.
Time will tell about the extent of damage, and we can’t predict how widespread the roof collapses or flooding will be. We don’t know when basic transportation will resume, when schools and stores will be open again, or if Western New York can be back into its routine in time for Thanksgiving.
But we do know something about the region’s and the state’s basic character.
And what we know is good.
Because what the weather did surprised us; what the people did didn’t.
They did was Americans always do.
They dug deep, they pushed hard, they got through.
And while the Blizzard of 2014 showed us something about the power of nature, it also showed us something about the goodness of people.
The goodness, the resilience, the neighborliness, the resourcefulness, the toughness.
The people of Western New York are going to lick this.
And they’re going to make the rest of us proud.
Of them for their grit, and of ourselves for being their neighbors.
- by Bob Lonsberry © 2014