A Personal Thank you.
I would like to talk about a subject which, if I’m honest, a lot of people may not be aware of. In December 2013 Somerset suffered some of the worst floodings in recent history. Bring on KhalsaAid The Super Sikhs.
Happy Christmas. Late December seen south-west England battered by storm after storm. The environment agency started issuing flood warnings for many areas, the levels were about to become a sea. As many of you are aware, I live in Somerset, I have done all my life. Days rolled by where we were up to our knees where we had our animals and we are one of the highest towns in the county, the ground was just saturated.
The Heroes Arrive
The army had been, the army had gone. It was deemed a lost cause. It was the beginning of February and it looked pretty bleak for the residents of Somerset! I gathered my wet weather gear, Grabbed one of my friends and off we set, we decided if nothing else we will get as close to the affected villages as we could by vehicle and wade the rest of the way if we had to but we were going to help the villagers sandbag, help them to try and save what they could. We tried in vain in one direction, the second try was equally as grim however the third time we arrived at a pre-arranged volunteer point.
We hadn’t been there 10 Minutes and a concrete lorry turned up full of sand, not just that but literally, an army of turbans appeared from the front of the lorry! It was the wonderful volunteers from KhalsaAid. They had travelled from all parts of the country, Organised for deliveries of sand and sandbags, and so much more!
Who Are They
Being a country boy I had no idea who they were, I had never seen so many Sikhs in all my life! It was like something out of a movie, The floundering soldier on his knees, tired no, exhausted and suddenly the light appears from the horizon and there are his brothers charging to lift him back to his feet. The Head of this band of wonderful people was Ravi Sing, CEO of KhalsaAid. He literally walked up to me with an arm of empty sandbags and said right governor, you want to fill or hold? That is something that will stay with me for life.
So, Who are they and what do they do? KhalsaAid well I say they are a group of exceptional human beings who would give you the shirt off their own backs and then button it up for you. They claim to be normal everyday people like you or I. I They are actually superheroes in turbans! Some call them supersikhs! NO wonder really is it. If there is a crisis or humanitarian situation, whether it be a war zone or here in Somerset, they will go and help, distribute essential supplies, give comfort, even help erect buildings! They rely heavily on donations from the general public as they Get no funding from any agencies. I’m no expert by any means but the way these guys mobilise and just face any disaster with a smile, a beard and a turban is nothing short of amazing.
The Magnitude Of Help.
Just a small clue as to what was supplied and donated by these superb people.
600 Tonnes, yes that’s right 600 tonnes of sand.
100’s of blankets, clothes, socks and boots.
Dry suits for volunteers, Waterproofs.
Cleaning supplies, shovels, wheelbarrows.
Add to that, the initial 50 volunteers who just dropped everything to help a community they had ever met. They spent over 1500 hours shovelling, road building, rescuing, reassuring, feeding the local community. Here are some photos of what it was like first hand. I honestly cannot thank these guys enough. from the bottom of my heart and many others, thank you!
I have hundreds more like these. Heartbreaking looking back at them, remembering how much people lost, how many are still recovering even now. apparently from the worst disasters great friendships can be made. That is so true. I have remained very good friends with Ravi. Now like a brother to me we try as often as we can to meet up, even if it’s just to go clay shooting together.
What You Can Do
KhalsaAid holds many fundraising events throughout the year, including climbing mount, Snowden. I’m not saying you should put some boots on and climb a mountain but you could make a donation here. KhalsaAid also holds some great events like meet the Sikhs. A great family event where both adults and children can learn to tie a turban. Try some fantastic cuisine and learn a little bit about Sikhs and KhalsaAid. Volunteers will even visit your child’s school to give some educational and fun talks about what they do and why.