California coming together

By U-Wire

Most San Diego State students probably went to bed last Sunday expecting a normal week. Your to do list: Paper due Monday. Grocery store on Tuesday. Biology test on Thursday. Halloween party, Friday night.

But by Monday morning, those plans literally went up in smoke.

Students and professors were under evacuation orders.

Roads were shut down.

Lunches with friends, coffee dates and classes were canceled.

Some students were wondering if they’d have a house to go home to after Monday.

It kind of puts that big intramural flag football game into perspective.

Still, it would have been easy to ignore the disaster. SDSU was not directly threatened by the fires, and the people who live around campus were safe.

We’re college students.

We’re supposed to take this as a free week off from school — Halloween break.

And some people did just that. But they were in the minority.

The fires blazing across the county lit a metaphorical fire under its residents.

Qualcomm Stadium — one of the largest evacuation centers — had so many volunteers that they had to turn additional help away.

On campus, Peterson Gym was turned into a center for displaced students and faculty. At one point, there were more volunteers than there were evacuees.

If you watched the news, you probably heard a thousand different stories of people turning from San Diegans into good Samaritans.

There was the family that offered rooms in their house to people who had been displaced.

And the woman who was in line at the store behind a family who had just evacuated.

When she saw that the little girl and her daughter were the same size, she found out where they were staying and dropped off a bag of clothes.

Out of the volunteers, you’d be amazed how many hailed from SDSU.

If you went to an evacuation center, you would have seen the Aztecs’ star wide receiver carrying cots, the guy from your marketing class serving lunch and the woman who works at Starbucks in Aztec Center giving blood.

We can go so far as to say this was a normal week, at least in that sense.

When something is squeezed, its true nature comes out. When San Diego was squeezed, our helpful, kind, giving side came out.

No amount of good deeds will change the fact that people lost their homes, their cars or even their lives in the blazes. Nothing can.

But when things were at their worst, people around the city were at their best.

And for those who helped, for those who turned out en masse to volunteer — thank you. The same to the brave firefighters who battled the blazes.

To everyone affected by the fires, our thoughts and prayers are with you.

Remember, you’re not in this alone.