A few weeks ago, I attended my 30th high school reunion in Greenville. I was a little reluctant as I had not been very good at keeping up with many of my classmates.
I was somewhat taken aback at the interest in my public service, but if nothing else, it proved to be a good start to a number of good conversations.
For a few hours, we caught up on jobs and families, and all those things that make reconnection so seamless and pleasant.
I confess that I indulged in a bit of nostalgia and “what if.” What if I had returned to Greenville when I finished law school? My kids would be classmates with the children of my former classmates.
Even though settling in Bluffton and raising my family here had been my plan since I was 12, there is an attraction to the sort of continuity that seemed to present itself at the reunion.
When I got close enough to home to smell the pluff mud, the nostalgia dissipated like early morning mist on the May River. I almost laughed out loud.
Our home in Bluffton is exactly where we want to be. The Lowcountry folks are our people.
Then the rains came.
We had some higher high tides and a little inconvenience here and there, but we in Bluffton were spared the lashing that Hurricane Joaquin put on some of our neighbors in Charleston and all up through the Midlands and into the Upstate. Lives and homes were lost, as rain like no one had ever seen just kept coming.
Even as the emergency management folks were getting organized, Mayor Sulka and the Town of Bluffton began setting up supply drops.
South Carolinians needed drinking water and other supplies. Local businesses with trucks suspended their operations to make deliveries to those in need.
The trucks rolled out 24/7, then returned for reloading.
Folks like Alan Ulmer and his employee John Lewis took loaded tractor-trailers to Lugoff and the surrounding area.
Gerrick Taylor, of Taylor Landscaping, along with friends Mitch and Bill Brown, made trips to Columbia, Summerville, Summerton, Manning and Kingstree.
Tom Curry, of Lowcountry Paver, collected and delivered multiple trailer loads of water and paper products to Charleston and Columbia.
Bill and Tony Nimmer, of Nimmer Turf, took six loads of supplies, including clothes and undergarments, to Manning, Sumter and Columbia.
Ben Kennedy, of Brighton Builders, and a team of volunteer employees, delivered pallets of baby wipes, cleaning products and other needed supplies.
The list is long and I apologize for leaving out any of the Good Samaritans, including Jean Beck, Charlie Dean, Josh Sigler, Dianne and Harry All, and Amy Campanini, and a host of others.
When the legislature reconvenes in January, we have some tasks to perform. We must begin to rebuild our infrastructure, we must find a way to educate all our children, and do all our business in an ethical and transparent manner.
It is my most fervent hope that you can be as proud of us as I am of all of you.
Weston Newton is the representative for District 120 in the State House of Representatives.