If you ever wonder why so many people like living in Effingham County because of its family and neighborly feel, then last Saturday should have provided the answer.
The wind and the cold couldn’t deter hundreds of Effingham residents from coming out to show their support and concern for some of their own at the Effingham County Imperial Sugar fundraiser. Three longtime Effingham residents are still recovering from burns and injuries suffered when Imperial Sugar’s Port Wentworth refinery exploded Feb. 7. They likely will be at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Augusta’s Doctors Hospital for many more weeks and months.
There were family members of the surviving patients on hand last Saturday. To handle what they have been going through on a daily basis, as their loved ones struggle to recuperate slowly, is beyond admirable. The anguish they go through borders on unimaginable.
The ECIS organizers even embraced the family of someone who hadn’t been in Effingham that long. Kelly Fields had moved to Rincon not more than a year ago. He too was hurt badly in the explosion and from some accounts, he went into the inferno to bring two people to safety. Fields eventually succumbed to his injuries, having been burned over 80 percent of his body, leaving behind a new wife and two stepdaughters.
It’s a great credit to the organizers for putting together the event so quickly and for even having it in the first place. Their concern and the empathy showed by those who came out and dug deep into their pockets, many for people they do not know and may never meet, shows why the people who call Effingham home chose to do so.