My hometown is Galveston, Texas. It's on a barrier island just off of the Great State of Texas. I've not lived there in more than three years, but I still remain homesick.
Galveston, with some frequency, is hit by hurricanes. The one that everyone talked about until 2008 was the famous 1900 Storm that did huge damage and killed at least 6,000 citizens.
But Galveston recovered and handled storm after storm unil September 2008...almost to the day 108 years after the 1900 Storm came ashore. That's when Hurricane Ike struck.
Even in spite of the long concrete seawall that Galveston installed after the 1900 Storm, a seawall that was supposed to protect the city from 1900 Storm-style devastation, it caused such damage that if Galveston recovers at all, it will take years and billions.
Seventeen thousand of the city's population -- that's 30% -- left and with no plans to come back to renew their lives on the Island.
The famous University of Texas Medical Branch, worth many, many millions, was crippled from flood waters and now appears to be struggling to find a reason to not return to its full glory.
Unless I missed something, Texas Governor Rick Perry has not personally visited the island since the storm, and most of the help one would expect the state to provide in such situations is, at best, on the back burner and the fire has probably been permanently turned off.
Presidents George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton did come to see. They came to see if they could figure out a way they could help.
U.S. Congresswoman from Houston, Sheila Jackson Lee, oft times the butt of criticism from conservatives, took it upon herself to insist that the federal offices get busy and get involved. State Representative Sylvester Turner began putting pressure on the state offices. And Galveston is not in either's district.
But last week a check came in the mail. That was the surprise. It was a personal check and it was unsolicited. The Obamas sent a donation of "more than $1,000."
Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Obama.