Sometimes it takes a tragedy to remind ourselves of what’s really important.
The fire at the Hall’s Apartment building in downtown Minot on Feb. 26 was yet another example of the overwhelming number of good people who live in our community. I’m always proud to call Minot my home, and the outpouring of support that follows these types of unfortunate events always strengthens and reinforces that pride.
This fire was one of those times. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured in the fire. The residents of the building were all evacuated and accounted for, and although the loss of their personal belongings is tragic, we’re grateful that no human lives were lost.
We’re also extremely thankful for the first responders who battled the fire, and that none suffered serious injuries. Firefighters, law enforcement personnel, ambulance crews, and others did exactly what they are trained to do. Firefighters were en route to the blaze 83 seconds after receiving the fire call. Does anyone still think “trained, maintained, ready” is just a slogan for the Minot Fire Department? It’s not. It’s what they live by every second of every day. I don’t know how it works in other communities, but I know this about Minot: When an emergency happens, our first responders knowingly and willingly put their own safety on the line without hesitation. Every day. We must never take their selflessness for granted.
While the firefighters were still battling the fire, another kind of effort was also under way throughout our community: the work to assist the displaced residents. Local agencies like the Red Cross and the YWCA quickly put out the word about what items were needed to help the victims. Helping people in times of crisis is their mission, and they continue to do that for these displaced residents and other people who rely on their services. Their continued efforts in this incident and the positive work they do every day is commendable.
In the hours following the fire, the immediate and concerted efforts of many individuals cannot be ignored. Using the power of social media, many Minot residents quickly began circulating information about how to help the victims of the Feb. 26 fire. Within hours, drop off points were established for folks willing to donate clothing, personal items, and other necessities. Area residents helping total strangers in the face of tragedy reveals the true character of our community. That’s what makes Minot special. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Sometimes, it’s easy to forget the overwhelmingly positive aspects of our community members. Too often we allow ourselves to become numb or indifferent to the needs of our neighbors, perhaps choosing to live through the electronic devices in front of us instead of paying attention to the real world. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, we’re tempted to forget what really makes us a community, until our eyes are jolted open by the reality of a tragedy.
In reading through some online posts following the fire, I read several comments like “Minot isn’t as bad as I thought it was” or comments that expressed similar sentiments. The truth is that Minot has never been as bad as the naysayers claim. We forget that truth all too easily, as we get wrapped up in our own daily schedules and narrow vision of life. But in our hearts, we know this is still true: Minot takes care of its own when necessary.
Unfortunately, we know there will be more tragic events in Minot’s future. But we’re soothed by the knowledge that when it happens, community members will respond, just like they’ve always done. It’s who we are. It’s who we’ll always be.
When tragedy strikes our community, there are many local agencies that can provide assistance to victims, with your help. Here are just a few of them:
- Red Cross: 701-368-4035
- YWCA: 701-838-1812
- Salvation Army: 701-838-8925
- Minot Housing Authority: 701-852-0485
- Minot Homeless Coalition: 701-852-6300
Once again, the truth about our amazing community and its character have been revealed in response to tragedy. Real life matters. Real people matter. Well done, Minot.