I've been watching up close the recovery and rebuilding efforts going on in Prattville AL. This area was heavily damaged Sunday by a big (1/4+ mile wide) F3 tornado. Several hundred homes and dozens of businesses were damaged or destroyed. The retail corridor of Prattville was, in a phrase, mostly flattened. But it's been interesting watching how things are being handled there. I went over there today, and all traffic lights and power poles have been replaced (there were 20-30 poles broken at 1:00 pm Sunday!) There is already massive cleanup efforts underway. Some of the smaller businesses will have a rougher go of it (simply because they have a smaller work force), but many businesses are marking their comeback in days, rather than weeks. There are many homes and businesses that must be bulldozed and rebuilt...but believe it or not, some of that is already happening...less than three days from the event. A couple of significant issues: The feds are saying that there will not be a "federal disaster area" declared. Why? Because over 80% of losses were insured! And yet....the cleanup goes ahead anyway. The FEMA guys and EMA guys at the cleanup sites are more are less standing around as the home and business owners "get busy" and put the pieces back together. Doesn't that speak volumes? My thoughts on this whole scenario: Folks, elect competent city leaders. You'll be glad you did. Quit focusing as much on who will be President as you do who will be Mayor and Councilman. Prattville is blessed to have outstanding leadership. And this week, it matters more than anything. Bush, Obama, Clinton, McCain...they ain't gonna clean up Prattville either way. In fact, their minions probably would get in the way if they went down there now. So.....elect some good local folks! If you can't afford insurance, you can't afford the home or the business. I was floored by the "no disaster" declaration. Then, I realized two things: One...it means fewer feds down here screwing things up. Two...it means that Prattville has done it the way it should be done. It is not the government's responsibility to insure my stuff: it is mine. Can't do insurance? Then rent. Work for someone else. Save up...and when you can adequately insure, you're ready. Otherwise, calamity will hit, and you will end up being paid for by me. Now...I don't mind charity at all....but I'd rather give it directly to you, than to give it to Washington to give it to you. Less waste, better stewardship, reduced corruption. Local folks simply help each other better than outsiders. True...we all need help sometimes. But the citizens of Prattville have taken care of each other in an admirable fashion. If I help a fellow townsperson...I'm helping one of my own. I'm glad Washington exists...but people from DC aren't going to care for people from Prattville like.......people from Prattville will. The role of churches is underreported and underappreciated. Yes, I'm biased. But it has been amazing at the work that our local churches have done in assisting those affected by the storms. There's a long list of other reasons that Christianity is important...but this is a small reminder of the good that faith in God accomplishes: it translates into serving our fellow man.