Check this out from DNC Blog via Suburban Guerrilla.

On Friday, September 9, days after Hurricane Katrina had ravaged the Gulf Coast, I felt frustrated and angry. In the communications department here at the DNC, I spend most of my day working and watching the news, and although I felt informed of what was going on around me, I also felt helpless and powerless to help those so far away.

At 10 a.m. the phone rang, and while I usually only get calls from the press, this one was different. A man identifying himself as a lifelong Republican was on the line. I began to prepare myself for whatever harsh words he was about to unleash, but to my surprise he said, “I need your help.” So I asked him “What do you need?”

In the wake of Katrina, Forrest King took in six evacuees because he said it was time for Americans to come together and help one another. He went on to say he had an elderly woman in his care, she had no medicine, and no one from the state or federal level would help him. He said that the Republican Party had abandoned him. He said the last thing he ever expected was to be calling up the DNC asking for help but he had no one else to call.

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Forrest told me the President he campaigned for—just under a year ago—had failed him and that Bush’s blatant lack of leadership in the face of this crisis had shattered his faith in the Republican Party. It was further shattered when he called his Governor, Republican Mitt Romney, and gotten no help. It was diminished even more after a call to the Republican National Committee, who told him they couldn’t do anything. He was shocked that his own party—though politically in power at the national and state level—didn’t seem to have control over anything.

I explained to him that I was in the communications department in Washington, DC and didn’t know what I could do for him. He said just get me medicine and help for this woman, she’s dying. I knew I had to do something, so I called the state party in Massachusetts and spoke with the executive director. I told her the situation. She placed a call to a case worker in Senator Kennedy’s office. I continued to call the state party and Kennedy’s office throughout the day for updates.

When I spoke with Forrest, I heard the desperation in his voice when he talked about his frustration with the administration. But his patriotism and his ideas about how Americans should help one another had really affected me. I was invested in helping him, in making sure this woman he had taken in was OK, and in providing him with assurance that I hadn’t abandoned him as his party did.

I called Forrest that afternoon after receiving word that an ambulance had been sent and the elderly woman was safely at the hospital. He answered saying, “I’m on my way,” mistaking me for a case worker. He said he couldn’t believe how quickly he received help and that he was actually on his way to the hospital. He later told me that the doctor who admitted the elderly woman said she should have never been placed in a residence and that bringing her to the hospital when he did, had probably saved her life.

When Forrest first called, he identified himself as a Republican. But above all he was an American who invited other Americans who lost everything to share his home. I am proud that as a fellow American and a Democrat, I could help him. I understand the anger Forrest has expressed towards the ambivalence of his party to help in a time of need.

I was fortunate to see dedication and compassion from my fellow Democrats to help him and other Americans in this time of tragedy. I feel my reaction to this man’s plight truly reflects my core values and priorities as a Democrat. The health and well being of our fellow Americans is a moral responsibility that I will never shed. Thank you Forrest, and welcome to the Democratic Party.

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