Jackson Parish residents earn admiration through adversity

Editor’s Note: Jackson Parish suffered a hard blow this past Wednesday through the devastation caused by a tornado that ripped through the town of Hodge and caused widespread damage across the parish.

(Submitted by: Ben Ledbetter – Jackson Parish Journal) Early 1900’s American author, James Lane Allen, coined the phrase Adversity does not build character, it reveals it. To learn the true meaning of the proverb you must first look at the word character. According to Websters dictionary the character of a person is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. Next is the definition of adversity which is referred to as difficulties or misfortune.
In summary, the meaning of Allen’s iconic phrase is that misfortune does not build the mental or moral qualities of a person but shows the world what kind of person he or she is.

Another famous quote by Allen, along the same lines, is Circumstances don’t determine a man, they reveal him.

This past Wednesday afternoon, adversity fell upon the residents of Jackson Parish in the form of a severe thunderstorm. Spawning from the powerful weather phenomenon was what has been classified as a F1 tornado. The aftermath revealed severe damage to the shopping center in Hodge, downed trees, snapped power line poles, damage to homes, crushed vehicles and even a flipped over 18-wheeler.

Fortunately, there were no injuries reported. There was something additional that resulted as well. A loosely kept secret was revealed. A secret about the people of Jackson Parish. Something local residents know and after the coverage by area news sources and social media sites, now the rest of north Louisiana knows as well.

Borrowing from the two phrases above, the circumstances faced on Wednesday revealed the character of the people of Jackson Parish.

Immediately after the storm passed, members of virtually every household could be seen checking on their neighbor. Many took to the highways and byways to help remove limbs out of the road or simply pick up debris. If there was a downed tree, there were neighbors with chain saws.

The social media sites like Facebook and Twitter exploded with shout-outs to their neighbors, friends, family members or just those in the same subdivision to make sure they were all right. Offers to give assistance were just as common.

When it was learned that the Mercy Medical Health Center (MMHC) and the Dollar General Store in Hodge had the roof blown away and water was pouring in, dozens of individuals came to the rescue to help move equipment and clean up.

Kim Brunson of Mercy Medical couldn’t have put it better about the “People from the Piney Woods” than what she wrote in a grateful Facebook post.

“Today was such an eventful day! I thank God for His hand of protection over us today. I also have to say I am truly thankful to the Mercy Medical staff who worked with community volunteers, sheriff, numerous mill employees, patients, friends, family, police, EMS, fire fighters, sheriff’s office staff, hospital employees and first responders who helped move our facility IN THE RAIN! I am truly grateful to live in this community!

Another example of the mental and moral qualities folks from Jackson Parish have was exhibited by one of the younger residents, as explained by her teacher, Jordyn Wallis.

“One of my sweet babies raised her hand while we were in the hall with all of first grade and kindergarten and said Ms. Jordyn, I just want to pray right now. That sweet girl prayed and all of the kids clapped after. I was so proud of her. There were definitely a few tears shed at how sweet it was.”

This was a 1st grader! Obviously from the home of parents who taught her the importance of turning to God in times of trouble.

That is mental and moral quality! That is exhibiting character!

Adversity does not build character, it reveals it!

Wednesday’s troubles revealed what kind of people live in Jackson Parish and their response to the adversity deserves admiration.

I too, am very grateful to live in this community!

Scenes of damage in Jackson Parish 

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