One of the themes that’s emerged as we commemorate the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew, is how the storm inspired a lot of good intentions, as well as just pure kindness.
In 2002, Homestead sought to commemorate the tenth year anniversary of the storm. The area had been, by far, the hardest hit during the storm.
Judy Waldman was on the Homestead City Council the year Homestead was planning the commemoration.
She said what struck her most about the time following the hurricane was the way people had banded together and helped their neighbors and strangers.
She said, however, that kindness started to fade after time.
“People just tend to put things in their memory and just they forget. They forget what it’s like to be humbled.”
In an effort to commemorate one of the beautiful things that came out of the grizzly destruction of Hurricane Andrew, Waldman decided to create a program to not only thank the people who helped during Andrew– but anytime.
It would be called the “Kindness Awards.”
People would send in letters nominating a person for their good deed and the Council would select a winner.
The Council received dozens of letters. Members of the community nominated church members who help the homeless, a nurse who donated a kidney, a volunteer who cares for sick animals and a man who mowed his neighbor’s lawn.
Roy Langston mowed his neighbor’s lawn because his neighbor was recovering from a hip replacement. However, he never told his neighbor about it.
The things I did, I thought nothing about doing it. I just believe you should help your neighbors or anybody who needs help.
Langston won a Kindness Award in 2008. He said he hopes the awards remind people to do the nice things that Hurricane Andrew forced people to do.
A lot of that –for some reason—has gone away now.
Dr. Linda Fagan also won in 2008. She treated patients for free out of a makeshift clinic on Krome Avenue. However, she said that these days people don’t trust good deeds.
They’re real suspicious of your kindness, I think.
If you brought them a cake or if you brought them cookies if they moved into the neighborhood, they’d be really suspicious of it.