I have been away from my blog for nearly three months. When I started this blog, I did not realize how much time and effort it would take. I still believe my primary goal, which is telling the story of black men and women who served in the US military during World War II is worth telling and I intend to complete my project. However, I now understand it is not as easy as I thought it would be.
None-the-less, after working on other projects and completing a one-month deployment with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in Kentucky in support of a flood disaster relief there I am writing again.
This was my second deployment with FEMA as a research/writer. Working in a Joint Field Office External Affairs Office (public affairs office) is just like working in a Navy public affairs office. The only difference is I did not have to wear a uniform or call anyone 'Sir' or 'Ma'am'.
I learned something from this experience. It is good to be able to do honest work – especially when that work makes a difference. This experience also reminded me of how important my twenty-year military experience was. The military is where I developed my work ethic. The first two weeks I was in Kentucky I worked from7 am until 7 pm, seven days a week – nothing new for a sailor. It was rough, but I understood the reasoning. I was comfortable in Lexington, which is about 100 miles away from Pike County, where most of the mid-July flooding occurred. But there was little comfort for many of the families in the flooded areas where it was a 24-hour a day, seven day a week reality – I could not complain.
In spite of the long hours, many of the Disaster Assistance Employees or DAEs (as we are called because we are FEMA's reserve force) are older. Some are retired and several of my co-workers are in their seventies and older. Like me, many DAEs are also ex-military.
It is unfortunate that it takes a disaster, such as an earthquake, oil spill, hurricane or a major flood to bring work for DAEs like me, but natural disasters and sadly some man-made disasters cannot be avoided. I have been following Hurricane Igor in the Atlantic right now. I live in North Carolina and hope this category-four storm does not hit my state. It looks as if it may possibly hit Bermuda. I was stationed in Bermuda and as grateful as I am that the US is not in danger I am not relieved that the storm may hit Bermuda. All I can do is pray that the storm stays out to sea and disappears.
In the meantime, I am writing again and I am writing about the black military men and women who served during World War II. I owe them so much.