Amid the destruction and devastation of Sandy, heroes emerge

Amid the destruction and devastation of Sandy, heroes emerge

Anyone who helps others during these times is a hero.

We all knew that if forecasters were right, parts of the Northeast would be dealt a devastating blow from Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy when it hit earlier this week. Sadly, they were right, and now all up and down the East Coast, people are dealing with the shock that always comes with a natural disaster of this magnitude. In the days to come, we'll likely continue to hear horrific stories of those who survived -- and, sadly, didn't survive -- come to light. In times like this, I try hard to focus on whatever positives I can.

My heart goes out to everyone affected by Sandy. One thing I learned, from surviving and recovering (slowly, ever so slowly) from a massive weather-related disaster is this: Heroes emerge during the most trying of times. We're starting to realize just how many people are willing to do anything and everything to help others, even when faced with a life-threatening storm.It would be impossible to name all of those heroes who have emerged in the wake of Sandy, but some stood out immediately in my mind: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, for his round-the-clock efforts to get help to the most badly stricken areas of his state, for one.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who told people in Zone A of the NYC area to get out well before the storm hit. He saved lives with that evacuation order, no doubt. I do know a thing or two about disaster recovery, and I know that it needs to be a combined effort of federal, state and local officials all working together towards a common goal. When it works, it really works -- and so far, I'm impressed.

Other heroes include the utility crews from all over the country who are helping to get power back on as quickly as possible to millions. I learned today that one of our local Alabama Power crews is busy helping out in New Jersey. It's tiring work, and to me, they are heroes.

To the first responders, the people who absolutely put the lives of others ahead of their own in any situation, I thank you. You are all heroes, and I can only hope as more stories of heroism emerge in coming days that everyone will stop to appreciate what you've done.

Yes, even when faced with the worst possible disaster, Americans do pull together. That, folks, is great news. If any of you are in the hardest hit areas, I wish you the best recovery possible. It may not seem like it now, but you will get stronger from this and you will rebuild your communities stronger and, in most cases, better than before. Eighteen months later, I finally have the perspective to say that.

If you'd like to highlight your own heroes from the storm, please do, in the comments. We'd all love to read them.