Saturday, September 03, 2005

Crazy Week!

What a week? It's been a while since I've had one of these. Here are the things that highlight my last week:

1) Katrina - wow! Who would have thought that once we heard that the hurricane veered to the East of New Orleans we'd be dealing with so much less than a week later. I think about 9-11 and how the tragedy was awful when the planes hit those towers. But if they had just remained standing, it would have been a whole different story than what happened. With New Orleans, if those levies had just held...

That's not to take away from the damage that occurred from simply the hurricane itself. Damage to homes and businesses across the Gulf Coast is unbelievable. But having a famous city like New Orleans mostly under water is unfathomable.

2) With Katrina comes opportunities for the rest of us to show compassion and serve. The Lord calls us to help the less fortunate and anyone who can't see an opportunity just ain't looking. Whether it is to give $25 to the Red Cross or Salvation Army or simply donating some old clothes to a shelter somewhere in a city where Gulf Coast refugees (this is America and I'm using the term refugees?? WOW!!). Hopefully everyone has taken the time to say a prayer and lend a hand someway.

3) At Sprint, we've had a large number of impacted employees to deal with. The Company is doing everything they can to help. On Thursday, there was a call to gather some folks together to get the plan together to personally contact each one of our impacted employees (from the HR department) to reach to them and find out what they need and see how we can help. We had already determined from their management that everyone was alive but beyond that it was sketchy. Communications between the managers and employees were down to only being able to text message each other because cell towers and phone lines were down not allowing communications between those folks and anyone from the outside to get to an area code down there. We found that you could text message the employee and they could then call you back. I'm not huge into text messaging (like the youngins are these days!!) but I know how to do it. So I had my list and started sending out mass text messages to the first 8 people on my list. Within minutes I had calls from most of them. Of course I could not take them all at once so we had to start with the "most needy" first based on the messages they left me. From there, it was just text messaging them again and waiting for the personal call back. I did this over and over all day Friday. If there was anything else going on at Sprint, I didn't know. There were several of us doing this so by no means am I saying it was just me. We all simply suspended anything else we had going on in order to devote our day to these impacted employees.

Throughout the day, I made about 10-12 contacts and frankly some new friends. They were amazed that the Company would do this but were very appreciative. We were offering them resource #'s, making sure the pay continues as long as their office is under water, as well offering them no interest $1000 loans to help them with immediate expenses. Those who know me know that I'm not a crying guy alot. It usually either builds up and I have a big cry (once a year type thing) or I cry if someone I love starts crying. Yesterday, I got to that point where my own levies just about gave way. It all came to a point at the end of the day when I was tired and frankly hating Katrina and what it had done to these people. I was not in a good mood but putting on a good face for those on the other end of the phone. Then I talked to Jenny. Jenny was in North Carolina and had gone there with her fiance shortly before Katrina hit. They were desperate and also looking for family members back in New Orleans who had not been found yet. At the end of the call, I asked her if there was anything else I could do for her. She said, yes - I want to say something and I want you to hear this. I said OK not knowing what she was going to say. She went on for about 2 minutes, crying in the midst of it, thanking me and Sprint for doing what we were doing. She's only been with Sprint for 2 mos. and she was baffled and overwhelmed that we would take the time to track her down and try to help her. She said her fiance was crying most of the call because of what we were doing. It was hard to stay focused because of the tiredness I felt but it's amazing how your mood can change in a heartbeat. It was 6:30 pm (the day before a company holiday yet I never thought about it) and I wish I had the time to make more and more calls. I was re-energized because I knew what we were doing was making an impact. I took the time to share this story with my colleagues in the office and they were just as moved. It was a special moment for sure.

4) Beyond all of the Katrina stuff, I think I'm going to need to start getting serious about finding a good used car for me. My parents are in Africa right now (click to read about their incredible experiences) so I'm getting to borrow their car. But they come back on Thursday night and will be here for a few days after that. However, then we are back to one car because my car is on the fritz (see previous blog entry). Pray that I will be led to the perfect car for our needs that fits into the budget.

5) Throughout it all, I have the greatest family in the world. I love my sweet wife. Kendra is so special and I probably don't spend enough time on this blog bragging about her. She's incredible and beautiful - what a combination!! Honey, if you are reading this - I love you!! And my two boys are great. Tyler is so great to play with and Colby is so funny. That's not to say that Tyler isn't funny or Colby isn't fun to play with but that's the first thing that comes to mind when I see them.

As I write this, the two cuties are in front of the TV on Saturday morning watch Jo-Jo's Circus. We spent time this morning together in our bed (after they got up at 7:00 and woke up Daddy from his deep slumber) watching the Disney channel. Mommy is away at Aunt Moni's house (her sister) for a night out. I'm giving her the night off last night and the morning off to do things with Monica. Then I get this afternoon to look for a car and to hopefully catch a little of the A&M vs Clemson football game on ABC. It's the first game of the year and I'm excited to watch some college football - especially my Aggies!! Let's hope it's a good year Coach Fran!!!

Well, that's been my week. What a crazy one!!

God bless you all,