Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Flood Brings out True Community Spirit

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Flood Brings out True Community Spirit

Article excerpt

The resiliency of ordinary people in the grip of extraordinary events that should have them groveling in despair has always been a wonder to me, as well as an inspiration.

The Sept. 17 floods in the wake of Hurricane Ivan were a tremendous blow to thousands of southwestern Pennsylvanians. Homes were destroyed or left unlivable, putting entire families on the streets. Shops, businesses and manufacturing plants were damaged. Some are not coming back.

You've read the statistics and seen the photos and TV footage of the devastation. You may have even lived through it. I don't have to detail it here.

But did you also see the stories and images of people doing what they had to do to shrug off the disaster and get on with the business of returning to some semblance of normal? And maybe you saw the true definition of community as neighbors and strangers banded together to help each other through the nightmare, or marched into their downtown districts with shovels, brooms and mops to help bring commerce and identity back to their hometowns.

These are people who don't stand around whining and wringing their hands, waiting for the lumbering bureaucracy of government to crank up and come to their rescue. After the shock, they simply turn to each other and say, "We're going to work our way back."

It's an ethic that runs deep in the long-established river towns like Millvale, Etna and Glenshaw in Shaler, where residents are still struggling to come back but are making progress.

These are the kind of people who, gathering around Thanksgiving Day tables tomorrow, will join hands and be grateful for the will and the work and the pride that are knitting their lives back together.

Among them will be the 50 or so employees at Goss Inc. in Glenshaw and their families. And particularly among them will be Jack and Mae McCreedy who have worked for family-owned Goss for more than 50 years.

Goss Inc., a third-generation business, manufactures cutting and welding equipment, and has been a Glenshaw fixture about as long as the McCreedys have been working for the company.

"It's family," said Mae McCreedy, the purchasing secretary and receptionist for the business. …

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