AKRON — Until a couple of weeks ago, many Americans probably had a pretty dismal opinion of their fellow Americans after viewing hate-filled speeches, protests and crimes going on around the country.
But then Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, and the true American spirit showed through.
We saw numerous images on TV and social media of civilians helping rescue civilians from flooded homes and vehicles. Civilians helping civilians find shelter, food and supplies. Civilians donating supplies and millions of dollars to aid recovery efforts.
Even among tire dealers, that American spirit and generosity came to the forefront.
We have stories in this issue of tire dealers and their employees volunteering to help evacuees, even as their own places of business became flooded and/or were forced to shut down temporarily.
Several Houston-based Treadwright Inc. employees were among the hundreds of civilians who maneuvered boats along flooded roads to help evacuate people stranded in their homes and vehicles.
Derrest Williams, TreadWright's director of marketing and e-commerce, was one of those involved in the boat rescues. He said he was awed by how everyone helped each other — a stark contrast to all the divisiveness in America, as portrayed by recent news events.
"(Helping out) was definitely something everybody definitely enjoyed because it kind of got away from splitting everybody apart and more towards bringing people together, and we're all trying to help each other out," he said. "Just in general, all the civilians that came out to help was incredible."
Meanwhile, Central Tire Auto Care in Houston, while dealing with a leaking roof, was trying to help people evacuate the area with tire repairs and tire replacements for whatever they could afford.
White Tire Supply Inc. in Beaumont, Texas, was forced to close for a week, so its employees got involved in volunteering in the flooded community.
"It was family helping family, friends helping friends, strangers helping strangers," said White Tire owner Tommy Reeves.
Several tire retailers, suppliers and organizations have announced they are donating money to help with the relief efforts.
As is so often the case, the best in people shines during the darkest of times, or as Mr. Reeves aptly put it: "It basically gave you the sense that humanity is still alive and kicking."