Thanks to those seen and unseen, getting us through the Durham explosion and preventing others.
The utilities infrastructure we enjoy we also take, too often, for granted. Because of how domesticated gas and electricity have become, the danger inherent in these phenomena goes mostly unconsidered. The Durham gas explosion last week should shake us out of that complacency. We, as a Board and as a community, were shaken and saddened by this disaster. We mourn the loss of Kong Lee, hope for a speedy recovery for those people injured and also hope that those whose property and businesses were damaged are made whole soon.
We would like to thank all of the responders, both professional and layperson, that mobilized to help those they could. People helping people on the street, such as firefighters and police, are those that are visually obvious in the wake of a disaster. They of course deserve thanks for their role in mitigating disasters and emergencies. Citizens who are ready, vigilant and able to limit damage and chaos in the wake of a disaster such as this are one of the blessings of common humanity and civilization.
We however should also be thankful not only for what and who are visible in disaster response, but what and who are invisible as well. Gas and electrical utilities are governed by rules and safety practices. The companies and workers that turn these design principles into material fact, operating for the most part safely, also deserve our respect and thanks. What gauge wire to safely use, how large and deeply buried a gas pipe is, how to inspect crucial points of delivery for damage — this work makes our lives as we know them possible. Those who keep utilities almost always functional and safe are crucial to the functioning of society. While they are not often seen, we feel the effects of their overwhelming competence every day.
It all too often seems that we are at each others’ throats as a nation. It should not take a disaster to remind us of the fundamental decency and everyday heroism we enjoy in the Triangle area, North Carolina and the U.S. Simple mindfulness and gratitude can get us to the place we should be. When you flip a light switch, turn on a burner, feel your central air move or pull over to let an emergency vehicle pass, remember all those whose work lets us enjoy our lives, safely, almost every day. Thank you all. You are appreciated.