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A community pulls together

Posted: November 15, 2012 - 12:12am  |  Updated: November 16, 2012 - 12:08am

I’m writing this letter to the community of Juneau at large. As a former resident of the Gastineau Apartments, these past ten days have been some of the longest I’ve known. When a tragedy strikes, they’re generally followed closely by a sudden sense of helplessness while simultaneously being completely overwhelmed. Fortunately for me, I have been fighting these overwhelming feelings on two fronts: First, the idea of knowing that I have to start from scratch as an adult due to something I could neither prevent nor stop. The second set of overwhelming waves to roll through have been a lot more unexpected and just as difficult to deal with: The sense of community and belonging and true compassion. Thanks to Officer Ben Beck kicking on my apartment door as I was sleeping off a double-shift, I am able to write this letter with a clean bill of health, and thanks to the joint efforts of Capital City Fire and Rescue and the Juneau Police Department, and all first responders, no human lives were lost. Shortly after being evacuated from Downtown, I stopped into Centennial Hall to register as a “disaster victim” and to use the restroom. Seeing the cots, lanterns, bottled water and food already setup had cemented the scale and reality of the situation for me. The immediacy of the first responders and the American Red Cross in providing for all of us is nothing short of amazing. From my understanding, by Wednesday all of the former residents had found short-term housing and the emergency shelter was no longer necessary. It is my heartfelt belief that this for no other reason than the graciousness of this community. The contributions, donations, clothes, toiletries, and hugs have simply been incessant since the fire started. What should have been one of my darkest times has been transformed into a minor inconvenience for no other reason than that my neighbors and this town have a deep-seated love and respect for each other. I have found it extremely difficult to express my gratitude while trying to stay positive about this. This will no doubt be a life-changing event for me, and thanks to you, I believe that it will be an extremely positive change. Thank you for everything you have done for all of us, and I hope to one day return the gesture ten-fold

Will Muldoon

Juneau

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