Lately it seems Mother Nature has released her wrath on all parts of the world. I’m sure some of you out there, or people you know, were affected by the fury of Hurricane Harvey in Texas or the powerful force of Hurricane Irma, which did substantial damage in Florida. And while thousands of people are dealing with the aftermath at the time I am writing this, there are areas in the Caribbean and Puerto Rico bracing again for two more storms approaching mainland.

I received an email from a long-time industry member last week, which I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. He and his family of young children had to be rescued by boat from their Texas home and are now beginning the rebuilding process. And like so many in the Houston area, he didn’t have flood insurance. While this is a tragic story, this particular person speaks positively about building a stronger home with sustainable products, and he plans to document each step of the process. By doing so, he will turn a devastating experience into a learning one, which he plans to share with our industry.

In times of despair, it is reassuring to see people coming together to help each other. GranQuartz’s Houston location also took a hit. In addition to repairing its own building and making a donation to support the relief effort of Hurricane Harvey victims, the company also launched an outreach program to help others in the area. It collected donations at its 12 U.S. stores to be delivered to the GranQuartz Houston, TX, location to be distributed to local charities and shelters. There are also other companies in our industry that made generous contributions to help those in need.

I have been with Stone World for many years and over time so many of you have become my friends. We see each other all around the country — and even the world. I have always said that the industry feels like a family — and this is evident even when I see fabricators getting together at SFA events or how much the Women in Stone or Rockheads Group have grown and how close their members seem to be. With that said, it isn’t surprising to see how everyone comes together and lends support in times such as these.

The rebuilding process isn’t easy. In 2012, I witnessed the destruction of “Superstorm Sandy” in my home state of New Jersey. It was devastating to see what was left of the Jersey Shore after the storm passed through. And I personally knew fabricators who had to recover from damage to their shops. But people find strength in tragic times and build relationships with people sharing in their hardships.

I wish nothing but the best for those rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey and Irma. And for all those who have generously donated — whether it be your time, energy or financial contributions — thank you. Let’s continue to make the stone industry a family through teamwork and sharing of experiences.