Lessons from the snowstorm Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler, editor   
Thursday, Dec. 17, 2009 -- 1:00 AM

Once again, we experienced a devastating snowstorm on December 9 that practically shut down Madison and most of southcentral Wisconsin.

The storm was followed by frigid single-digit temperatures, meaning that salt applied to the roads couldn’t work.

editor's view by Mary C. Uhler

There were many complaints about how the city and county road crews handled the snow removal. I’m sure there will be discussions about how it can be improved in the future, but given the blizzard conditions and low temperatures, I think the road crews did a pretty good job.

People help others

What impressed me, however, was the way people pitched in to help their neighbors. My husband and I ventured outside to start clearing the snow with our small snowblower. We quickly realized that the snow was too high for our machine.

We started shoveling off the top of the snow. Almost immediately, about six of our neighbors appeared with shovels and began helping us. Then our trusty neighbor Greg, with his huge snowblower, came along and cleared out the main sidewalk and driveway, as he has in past snowstorms.

This “crew” of volunteers helped many other neighbors up and down our block.

True Christmas spirit

In this holiday season, the neighbors showed me the true Christmas spirit of caring and sharing.

I also heard about people who drove older people to doctor appointments and bought groceries to shut-ins. At All Saints Retirement Center in Madison, residents pooled their cookie dough and spent the day baking cookies for all to enjoy.

Families of nurses and doctors made efforts to clear their snow more quickly and drive these necessary medical workers to hospitals and clinics. Other people with hardier vehicles offered rides to those with less snow-worthy cars.

While it’s no fun to experience 14 or more inches of snow, we can learn some lessons from the snowstorm about the importance of reaching out and  helping those in need. We should not need a snowstorm to practice these corporal works of mercy at any time of the year.