In the Amish world, when disaster strikes, you help your neighbor. Sometimes that means going two or three states away to clean up.
And it’s not just Amish helping Amish–after all, in the grand scheme of things, you, English person, are a neighbor too.
Amish often travel to help non-Amish rebuild after hurricanes, such as the Hugo storm in the early 90’s. Amish were active after Katrina last year as well.
The Amish do not carry disaster insurance. They rely on community support. Out of brotherly love, as well as knowing that you could be the one hit next, you do what you can to help out.
The Amish settlement in Daviess County, Indiana was struck by a severe tornado in the fall of 2005. Within days, Amish from across the country had gathered to rebuild.
Last year, a Missouri Amish settlement had the similar misfortune of a tornado strike. Daviess Amish were at the ready, most likely with fresh memories of their own experience in mind.
Some people have contrasted the Amish response to disaster with the Hurricane Katrina experience.
In the words of Patrick Boylan, director of the Homeland Security Program at Vincennes University, located near Daviess County:
“In the South everybody is still waiting for someone else to do something for them. We need to send them (the Amish and Mennonite residents) down to teach them how to be self-reliant. Their resourcefulness is amazing.”
That is so true. So much of the time when disaster happens, folks stand around waiting for help instead of getting out there and just doing it. When we went through a bad storm in the early 90’s I remember after it was over people came out of their homes and started helping each other clean up debris. It never occurred to most of us to sit around and wait for help from the government, we did it ourselves!