During the recent floods in Louisiana, a loosely organized group again came out to help their neighbors. They call themselves the Cajun Navy. Similar to the 9-11 Flotilla and the local response after Hurricane Katrina, a call for help went out through unofficial channels, this time a local radio station. Anyone with a seaworthy vessel was to meet at a local mall. Organizers expected a couple dozen boats and volunteers. They got almost 400 boats, some high-water trucks, and 10,000 people willing to help. How awesome is that?
The official channels of help like the Red Cross, local police, National Guard, etc. are of course essential in management of rescue operations during disasters like this. But there's something touching and genuine about coming to the aid of another person, not because it's your assignment, not because it's your job, but because it's the right thing to do.