To Cleveland Residents:
News of the past tornadoes that have affected your community and surroundings has brought me to write [this] encouragement letter ... with the hope that it helps you to move forward [and that it helps you] to help each other get better and better throughout the coming days.
My thoughts and prayers are with your community at this time.
It is OK to be sad. It is OK to be discouraged, but not for long. It is OK to be frustrated, but [knowing] that you have a community ... to move forward, to progress further and to make better should end your frustrations.
Your lives have been disrupted. It is like losing a loved one unexpectedly. At this moment of devastation and tragedy, it is not a time to [waste focusing] on the past. Now is the time to move, to organize and to proceed forward.
Each of you, whether you know it or not, has three attributes.
The first attribute is “heart.” “Heart” is in each and every one of you. “Heart” gives you the energy, the power and the muscle strength to carry on daily activities. “Heart” wakes you up and gets you out of your mindset of loss. “Heart” will get you into a mindset that says, “We can get through this.” Even more importantly, “heart” connects your energy to your “will.”
And “will” is your second attribute.
“Will” uses the heart’s energy and transforms it to a calling. In times like these, “will” calls each of you to come together and work to transform your neighborhood. In times like these, it is the “will” that tells you, “Don’t give up.” The “will” says, “I will not give up nor give in to what I see. I will make it better and make others better as well.” More so, the “will” connects the heart to the “skill.”
And yes, your “skill” is your third attribute.
Each of you has it. “Skill” is what got you your job. It is what makes your house your home. Your “skill” will be put to the test in various ways throughout the months to come. Your “skill” comes in many forms. It comes in the form of communication. It comes in the form of extending your hand to help a neighbor. It comes in the form of a willingness to break down barriers that [sometime] prevent communities from growing.
Now is the moment to come together. Now is the time to stop worrying about differences between one another.
A community built on solid ground does not falter nor fade. It grows. It gets better.
A community built on solid ground brings positive opportunities for people of all types to experience.
Keep going. Never give up. Out of the tragedy that unfolded in your area, each of you represents a bright spot willing to move forward and to get the job done right.
I believe so strongly that your community will move forward hand-by-hand and brick-by-brick, and that your community will be better than it was before.
Your community will be stronger than before.
Your community will be closer than before.
— Andrew Webb