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ISBN: 9781457509308
272 pages
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Excerpt from the Book
Introduction

SINCE 9/11 I HAVE REGULARLY found myself in the middle of disasters, looking out from the heart of chaos. Every major disaster to strike on or near the North American continent in the past ten years has drawn me to it. Much of my involvement has been tied to my professional interest in disaster recovery and business continuity, but certainly not all of it. In fact, my involvement and education in those professional disciplines was more likely an effect, rather than a cause.

I often think that my experiences have been a manifestation of Jung’s theories of synchronicity—the idea that not every event needs to have a cause and effect explanation. One thing I do know; many of my experiences have been far beyond anything that could be considered “coincidental,” in the general sense of the term. Occasionally, though, I recall passages from The Celestine Prophecy stuck somewhere in the back of my mind: “Knowing our personal mission further enhances the flow of mysterious coincidences as we are guided toward our destinies.” Maybe the truth is in there, somewhere.

Whatever the cause, the effect has been the same. When bad things happen, I have an overwhelming compulsion to get involved—to engage. I need to do something and simply cannot sit and watch from the sidelines. Along with this irresistible desire to act, I have fortunately acquired relevant skills that have allowed me to provide meaningful services. Some of these skills are technical in nature—telecommunications, information technology, and computers. Others are more real-world, practical skills— electrician, carpenter, mason, and grunt laborer. Most, however, fall into the category of collective life experiences—military service, woodsman, hunter, and helicopter pilot. In many situations, such as post Hurricane Katrina and the Haitian earthquake, I found myself employing crazy combinations of all of my skills and experiences (except the chopper pilot part—I’m still waiting for that one to pay off—I’m sure it will someday) and in every case, I have learned more than I ever thought I needed to know. The situations I’ve experienced from the inside have been fascinating, by any measure, requiring physical strength, emotional courage, and seat-of-the-pants tenacity that had been previously untapped—all qualities that most of us hold in reserve, but seldom venture to utilize.

As you follow me through events ranging from the terrorist attacks of 9/11, into hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike, then on to Haiti after the January 2010 earthquakes, and subsequently to Japan after the Tsunami, you will be introduced to the lessons and witness the learning processes as I lived them. I’ll tell you theses stories though the use of facts, figures, photos and anecdotes, just as they were. I promise you, CNN never showed you or told you much of what you’ll read here.

There’s no value in getting an education and never putting it to use. Therefore, what I’ve learned and share in this book is offered as both dire warning and terrible example. But most importantly, with luck, an inspiration for your personal commitment to become involved – to use what you know and what you have to help others, in big ways or small ways. Further, by reading how the lack of preparation caused unnecessary loss of life and destruction of property, I hope the reader will come to understand the importance of disaster preparedness. I’ll be in the middle regardless, looking out.