To Those Who Helped During Florence

To Those Who Helped During Florence

There is no possible way to say thank you to everyone that helped before, during and after Hurricane Florence.

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Hurricane Florence came to my hometown in North Carolina on the night of September 13, 2018. Winds blew, rain was thrown around, tornado warnings filled my home, and yet there were men and women working endless hours to help my state and the surrounding areas. I would like to take this time and personally thank you all for every moment you put in to restore my state to what it was before the storm came.

First, let me just say THANK YOU GOD and JESUS for turning down the strength of the hurricane! We were listed to be hit with a category four, maybe even five, but by God's will, it was only a two which died down to a one. He kept our families safe and together during the storm while he kept all of the men and women who helped out during the storm calm and brave. Thank you, Lord, for all of you many blessings and for you arms around us during this difficult time in our lives.

Before the storm made its appearance, we heard that NYPD, FDNY and New York's Task Force were making their way to North Carolina before Hurricane Florence would make landfall. Being from a small town and hearing that NYPD (which is miles away) is coming to help us made me feel a little more nervous about this storm severity. However, now that the storm has passed, I am so grateful that they were able to help us in our time of need!

Many states began to send as many different teams as they possibly could to our aid. States that are North Carolina's neighbors and even far off states such as California and Ohio made their way over to lend a hand.

Lineman rolled out once we began to lose power while the rain was still rushing in which put many of their lives in danger. To the lineman that were hurt during this, I pray that you have a speedy recovery and thank you for your service for our community. I know many people were worried about our power being restored, but I knew that you all would come to our rescue as soon as you were able. You had a lot of ground to cover and some areas were very difficult compared to others due to flooding, winds, rain, and even snakes! I hope you all are able to return home safe and sound to your loved ones and receive some well-deserved rest.

To our police, sheriff deputies, state troopers, and everyone involved in our law enforcement, a special thank you for keeping us safe during this time. You made sure roads were safe to travel and told us when they were no longer able to be crossed. You worked endless hours for days on end away from your families just to protect everyone else's families. Sometimes you had to stand eating your meals while still directing traffic just so you could get a bite in and sometimes had to sleep in random places just to catch a few zzz's.

Not once did I hear any of you complain. You were all as nice as you could be and smiled to ensure we would be okay when some of us were unsure. You helped rescue those who needed it and helped traffic flow more smoothly. Not to mention going around to make sure everyone who was in an evacuation zone was out of danger. You stepped up to the plate for our state and we truly appreciate you.

Hurricanes always bring the most convoys to our area which is no surprise since we live by so many bases. Our country's military has helped our state countless of times during hurricanes and they showed up again for this one! As everyone was headed away from the storm, you all were headed straight for it to help the American people. Bringing us supplies especially once the river cut off southern Lenoir County from surrounding areas. We watched your helicopters fly over our small hometown as your men and women rushed in to help those who were in flood zones or in need.

Once we were able to see the news, we saw countless videos of the military working with other organizations to rescue people from flood zones. There were some areas that were not expected to flood that were and you all were right there in the action trying to rescue as many people and animals as you possibly could. Thank you!

To all of the volunteer fire departments, paramedics, EMS, and first responders, I know you all were very busy the second the storm started from trees falling onto people's houses, cars were taken by rushing water or fallen roads, generator accidents and so on. Many of you spent your nights sleeping on a cot in a place that was not in your home but with your other family.

I truly appreciate everything you do for your community on a normal night, but especially on nights where many of your town's citizens were scared of the storm that seemed to be hovering over us. Through tornado warnings, floods, and other emergency situations, you were on call and ready to jump in the truck in a heartbeat. Your community and state thank you tremendously.

Southern Lenoir county had to be quick on its feet before the rising of the Neuse river cut us off completely like it did during Hurricane Matthew. South Lenoir High School graciously hosted a field hospital to be set up on their campus so that anyone on our side of the river would be able to access medical help if they so need it.

This field hospital was no joke, either! I heard about some of the cases they have had to face and they are top notch for the situation they are in! Thank you to South Lenoir for hosting this medical need in our area! Thank you to all of the doctors, nurses, medical staff, and volunteers that are here to make life a little easier during the flood! We are overjoyed to have you here and are grateful that you are!

We have had some emergencies that may not have gone as well if you were not here, so thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Many churches have become shelters or have provided supplies and food to those affected by Hurricane Florence. This brought out a lot of volunteers in the community. Red Cross set up disaster relief stations along with other organizations across North Carolina. Those who no longer had a place to call home, were evacuated, or just were unable to get home truly needed you and you took time out of your own busy schedule to help. The organizations and churches would have been unable to function as quickly and proficiently without your help. Thank you for your dedication to your community and thank you for your kindness.

There were many government officials and organizations that also helped us during our troubling time. I know especially in our community, Mr. J Mac Daughety was our resource to go to for updates on the hurricane, road conditions, "what's going on" moments, and our eagle eye for the Neuse River.

Many Kinston officials and boards were able to help out as well especially when the river rose a lot faster than anticipated across highway 70. They were able to get the word out that if we lived in the southern area of our county that we needed to get home as soon as possible because they were not sure how long exactly we had. NCDot was able to keep us up to date on road closings and dangerous roads that were not safe to travel on as we tried to navigate our way around to get to certain locations.

President Trump flew down to help pass out plates of food and to see what damages were done by Hurricane Florence. I think he brought a lot of smiles to peoples faces that have not smiled the past couple of days. It was a nice change to see everyone's face when they saw President Trump himself or saw him going by in his car with all of his security vehicles surround his to keep him safe. Thank you to all of you involved that kept us informed, up to date, and helped out where ever you could during this time!

I know there are thousands of more people that were involved in rescuing the Carolinas during Hurricane Florence. I just want to thank every single one of you and let you know how truly grateful we are that you came during a dangerous time. We do not know what we would have done without your sacrifice and service!

We pray that you will be able to return home safe and sound to your loved ones. Thank you truly from the bottom of our hearts and may God bless you and your families!

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Can We PLEASE Stop The Bit Vs. Bitless Fight?

Debating is more than OK, but calling your fellow equestrians cruel or stupid for using basic equipment isn't civil or even close to participating in a fair debate.

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A fair debate isn't free of emotion.

It is more than OK to be passionate about whatever subject you defend or try to prove, but I have found with this particular "debate" is that it isn't a debate at all. It's a straight-up fight to the death that rarely ends in more educated opinions.

Instead, it more often is a fight that ends in leaving the victim who is "called-out" with a feeling of inadequacy as an equestrian.

I am not talking about the equestrians who jerk harshly on the bit or bitless bridle for more control, I am talking about the equestrians who are genuinely riding humanely but are called cruel and abusive for merely using a bit even though their horse is obviously plopping along content and listening well enough to their rider and handler.

Since these offenders do not have the brass to say such rude things in real life this bullying often happens online, but even though many adults know these offenders are not worth the time, it is the young and impressionable riders that already train under a professional who are the real victims of this fight. Young and impressionable riders who are doing just fine the way they are, but are bombarded by both popular social media accounts making videos and posts ridiculing either side of the debate and also the fans of these accounts.

And as someone who is an advocate for both bitless and bitted training, I see the fault on both sides of the argument.

I not only see fault on both sides, but I also see very uneducated opinions, quick accusations and over-the-top guilt tripping. It is to the point where it is overly excessive and causing equestrians to feel afraid to post about their riding on social media, even though they are honestly doing quite well for their skill level.

I understand completely, that if you are going to post your riding on social media, you need to be prepared for critique whether you are a beginner or an expert. There will always be someone that will not be satisfied by someone else's skills when they're watching it from a distance through a computer screen without fear of real consequences from the things they say.

However, as I said, it is excessive how much fighting there is about this subject online. It is never necessary to call someone a bad person just because they are using a bit, which seems to happen more and more frequently.

Again, I am an advocate for both, but I see riders who use bitless bridles religiously starting these fights and often using the fact the horse is bitted as a reason for things such as bucking, rearing, bolting, etc. When these riders tell them, no, that is not a reason their horse has problem areas, these riders are then called cruel and abusive even when they are using something as simple as a smooth snaffle while having soft hands.

And like I said earlier, the fault is not solely placed on the bitless side of the fight. I also see good equestrians who prefer bitless genuinely asking people online why they use the bits that they use out of pure curiosity but are attacked unprompted by whomever they are asking.

Like it or not — no matter what side you are on — bitless bridles and bits both have a place in training, and both types of equipment have a full spectrum of how much control the equipment is asking from the horse.

Yes, even bitless options ask for control from the horse, and if your reason for hating people you don't know simply for using a bit because "bitless isn't controlling over a horse's free will." I have some really bad news for you. No matter what type of equipment you use to ride a horse, riding in and of itself is asking for control over a horse. Even a horse's social hierarchy with their herdmates asks for control over each other.

A lot of the fight is about which one is better, and usually, people use studies done on bits versus bitless to back up their claims on both sides. However, the very few scientific studies that have been done, use incredibly small sample sizes. Most of these studies do not exceed over twenty horses, a study done by W. R. Cook and D. S. Mills only used four horses in their study. To give some perspective on how inaccurate of a study that is, normal case studies use sample sizes made up of thousands of individuals coming from multiple backgrounds.

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So do your research and be critical of the people that produce that research. Do not depend on large social media accounts to influence everything you believe you know, especially when certain social media accounts make it their goal to ridicule people for using basic equipment. Use common sense and be kind.

Educate yourself and learn about who you are taking in information from.

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