Tuesday, September 28, 2004

This impress me,

This is an example of dignity and stoicism, qualities generally to be prized.

Floridians worn out by hurricanes' wrath
Jeanne's aftermath is déjà vu all over again

By Janet Shamlian
NBC News
Updated: 9:51 a.m. ET Sept. 28, 2004

PALM BAY, Florida - Dewey Cuthbertson knew there would be damage to his mobile home in the aftermath of Hurricane Jeanne. But he was not prepared for this. No one could be.

Cuthbertson drove to Orlando to escape the storm’s wrath. He slept in his car for two days and then decided it was time to come home. But there was no home here anymore.

The place had been destroyed. All four walls were blown away by Jeanne’s fierce winds, and his belongings were tossed about like children’s toys. Everything was wet and almost nothing could be saved.

“I‘ll be all right,” the 74 year old veteran said. “I’m doing a lot better than some of my friends in the Navy who never returned home from duty.”

Rain-soaked keepsakes
Cuthbertson walked to the home where he lived by himself and took a look. There in a corner was something he treasured. It was a scrapbook detailing his two decades in the Navy. There were newspaper stories from his time in Korea and Vietnam and pictures and letters he treasured. The book was badly damaged, every page was wet.

“This is what I did with my life. I was a stenographer for admirals. They moved around a lot to different ships, so I did, too,” Cuthbertson said. “I thought I was done moving, but I guess I’ll have to move again.”

A neighbor from the Palm Bay Estates mobile home park saw Cuthbertson’s car arrive and came to comfort him. “We’ll help you Dewey,” she told him. “Take a look around and tell me if there’s anything here you want to keep.”

The reality of the situation was starting to sink in. Cuthbertson pointed out a chair, a small waterlogged suitcase and the scrapbook.

“I guess that’s it,” he said. “I’m a relatively healthy person. Money and possessions are not that important.”

Talk about a stiff upper lip.


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