Letter of thanks from an American to St Francis people
I would like to send a word of thanks to a number of people who live, work or play at St Francis.
I’ve been coming here my whole life and I cannot imagine a place which will one day hold more memories for me. I very much hope I will be able to share all that is St Francis with my children one day!
I started following your articles (on http://stfrancischronicle.com) shortly after the first fires of the year. While tracking the progress I found your up-to-date journalism the most welcome comfort on the day.
Your reporting (St Francis Chronicle) was accurate, timely and informative and I cannot express my gratitude enough for this service. It is amazing what value such information can hold in a day and age where there are always several sources of ‘communication’ but often very little credible ‘information’.
It was for this reason that when the second fire hit on Christmas Day I was able to log on from New York and inform my parents (who were in St. Francis at the time) exactly what the extent of the damage had been and that the need for concern had passed.
At this time I feel I should also thank all those who assisted with controlling both of these fires as I am told their contributions were invaluable and the epitome of selflessness.
The fact that only one house actually burnt down in the second fire bears testament to the commitment and lessons learnt in the first instance.
I’m told one local arrived in his boat shortly after the fire started with newly constructed water pumps hitched to the back… remarkable.
Secondly, I would like to say a huge thank you to the municipal team who work on water in the area. For as long as I can remember there has been a burst pipe or two over the festive season (no doubt due to the ageing infrastructure and increased demand over this period – a different story all together) and I cannot remember a time when a bakkie was not promptly on site to remedy the situation.
The latest incident occurred at the bridge connecting shore road to the rest of St. Francis. The ski-pole of a boat broke the water pipe bracketed to the side of this bridge during high tide (shortly before a second boat hit the other side) which caused this water pipe to break.
The whole of Shore road promptly lost water. Despite it being a Saturday in the midst of the silly season the municipal team were there in short order and promptly begun to replace the broken length of pipe.
They worked with the aid of flood lights well in to the night and successfully bridged the considerable gap. They hung over the edge of the bridge to accomplish this feat, angle grinding and feeding and plugging and joining pipe… in the dark, not being able to swim, with some holiday makers (both sober and considerably drunk) trying to roar across the bridge mad at the inconvenience of having to wait for a few minutes while the prostrate man working with power-tools stood-up to allow them to pass.
When asked what they would do if the repair didn’t hold first time the response was refreshing… ‘we’ll keep working until it is fixed’. I think this attitude and commitment is truly commendable.
Finally, I would like to thank the individual who broke the pipe initially. My sister and her boyfriend were acting as traffic wardens at the bridge in question while the team worked their magic. During this time they encountered several incredibly rude people, desperate to be on their way given the urgency of getting home to dinner / sleep / an additional drink. That said, they also happened to encounter the guy who did the damage.
He was incredibly contrite and friendly and had already contacted the municipality to report the incident and offer restitution. This is in complete contrast to the second boat who, to my knowledge, simply drove off laughing after colliding with the other section of the pipe (I stand to be corrected). Such honesty and integrity is refreshing.
I don’t usually write these sorts of letters but in this case I thought it necessary. If the names of the individuals mentioned above (‘guy with the water pumps’, ‘municipal team’) could be established and included that would be even better).