It has been over a week since the most ferocious hurricane in U.S. history made landfall. And that was just day one. Day after day after the storm transitioned into a tropical depression, the Greater Houston area heard nothing but the sound of rain pounding our streets, wreaking havoc on our lands, leaving the entire eastern portion of Texas under water.

Places that have never, and I mean never, flooded before, homes in my own neighborhood, took on more water than anyone ever imagined.

The first home I lived in when I moved here three years ago is under water now, as is my daughter’s Montessori school, and there is no idea as to when she’ll be able to walk into those doors again.

To say that all of us down here in the Lone Star State are tired is an understatement. It’s starting to border on delirium.

Despite the sleepless nights and the stress, what we have on display down here in Texas is an outpouring of love and camaraderie that I have never in my life seen. Over 2,500 square miles of cities and towns started flooding last week, and mixed and mingled in with the police, firefighters and National Guard were everyday people who happened to own a boat.

Never in my life have I been so thankful to the bass-fishing population of America. These people didn’t ask permission to get into the murky water; they just did it. And they did it by the thousands, for days, and with very little sleep. These people are heroes.

Some of those heroes saved my friends and their pets, and to those strangers I am eternally grateful. With all the statues coming down in the South right now, maybe we can erect some in honor of these brave men and women.

In the short three years that I have lived here, I have seen a flood every year. This, by far, was the worst anyone has ever experienced. Mother Nature did not discriminate in this disaster. Rich neighborhoods, poor neighborhoods, black, white, old, young … everyone has been affected by this.

There will be plenty of time in the very near future, I am sure, to discuss how the sprawling nature of this city that seems to know no bounds now needs to look at its infrastructure and decide how much longer this can go on. We can talk about the warming of the oceans and how storms are becoming more powerful.

We can talk about all of that, and we will. But for right now I want everyone to look at East Texas and start taking notes. Everyone in the country needs to look at Houston, Katy, Corpus Cristi, Galveston, Rockport, Beaumont, Kingwood; the list goes on and on. Look at these cities and towns and watch us as we mobilize.

Watch us as we shelter our neighbors. Watch us as we muck our friends’ and family’s homes out once the water recedes.

Watch us as we cradle the babies that need childcare when moms and dads need to go back to work. Watch us as everyday people save lives.

Watch us as we rebuild homes. They say “Don’t mess with Texas.”

And this crazy saying that has lived on since its anti-littering campaign of the ’80s is no more true than in this past week.

I want to thank the Mainers who have reached out to me, friends, family, the media, to make sure that we are OK. Our house was spared and I have never felt more blessed in my life. I cannot say the same for some of my friends, though. I made it through the ice storm of ’98 and the toughness I earned then has served me well through all of this.

And I have to smile when I look around at everyone helping and think, “Dirigo … I lead.”

We have leaders all around us right now, and even though I am thousands of miles away from home I can’t help but think that some of that Maine know-how has been transported down here. I want to ask only one more thing of anyone reading this: Help your neighbor.

If you don’t even know your neighbor’s name, I want you to go over there immediately and introduce yourself. Stick out your hand and say hello. Go ask them for a cup of sugar when you’re all out. Snowblow their sidewalk when you know they can’t do it themselves.

Watch the children on your street walk home from school, and get to know their parents.

Friends, we need community in this country now more than ever. We need to take care of each other at all costs.

Fred Rogers said, “look for the helpers.” If you do anything today, help another person out, because you never know when you are going to need help in return.