The state was among the first to raise its hand to volunteer shelter and care for people who will come to Camp Edwards at Otis Air National Guard Base with little more than their tattered clothes and nightmares. The Legislature and Governor Romney speedily agreed on a $25 million emergency appropriation bill to provide temporary housing, food, and some semblance of community for survivors of a disaster that all but obliterated the city of New Orleans.

A network coordinated by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, the state Department of Health and Human Services, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and others will provide triage for arriving evacuees, assess their health needs and connect them with doctors. Legal experts will help cut through the paperwork so victims can file medical and property damage claims. The Department of Education will place children in classrooms. Hundreds of volunteers are stepping forward. The Black Ministerial Alliance is coordinating financial and housing assistance through churches. Businesses are donating supplies.

Massachusetts citizens should be proud to offer what they can, for not only will their efforts redirect lives, but the people they meet and the stories of survival will affect their own lives forever.