What a disaster...
I’ve been involved with disaster response in some capacity for close to 30 years. When I was young it started with the Volunteer Fire Service responding to Hurricane Andrew. I had just gotten off Active duty and was waiting on my first civilian job to start, I had the time and the department had resources that I knew they didn’t have in South Louisiana so I talked to the Chief, grabbed a couple more people and off we went. Since then I have responded to a lot of natural disasters with the military, and most recently as a member of Team Rubicon.
I say all of this to say I have worked with and met with many disaster response groups both faith based and non-faith based. I was a board member on the Mississippi State VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Diasasters) and had the opportunity to represent Team Rubicon at the National VOAD conference a couple of years ago. I saw and met so many organizations large and small. I saw Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Lutherans, Buddhists, Scientologists just to name some of the Faith based groups. There are a lot of non-faith based groups too. There are always the really large groups like the Red Cross and Salvation Army and small groups with a small base but very efficient and reactive. The one group I have never seen on any domestic response in the United States has been the Sikhs.
Seva is a core tenant of the Sikh faith and I’m aware that there are many ways to serve but in the United States Natural Disasters are like Baseball…The American way. We do Tornados, Hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, wild fires and every other disaster like no one else. We have them year round in every part of this nation. Please correct me if I’ve misunderstood but we (Sikhs) are supposed to defend the defenseless, feed the hungry, provide comfort and leadership where this isn’t any. Who is in greater need than those that have lost everything through no fault of their own? ls there a better way to show everyone what Sikhi stands for than being there in their greatest time of need?
I know there are Sikh groups that do amazing work internationally to relieve the suffering of all people. I’d like to give a huge shout out to Ravi Singh and Khalsa aid for everything you do for so many suffering people.
I’ll close by saying I hope at some point in the near future to see more Sikhs out in the disaster response community in the US…leading the way and doing what the Guru requires of us.