How to help
To contribute to disaster relief, visit www.redcross.org.
Former Dawson County residents who have been living in Japan contacted friends in North Georgia last week after surviving the recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated the country.
Tom Biggs retired as Robinson Elementary School’s principal in July 2008 and moved to a U.S. Naval Base in Yokosuka, Japan, to teach the children of military personnel.
His wife, Donna, moved there with him to join their daughter and son-in-law at the military base, which is about 50 miles south of Tokyo.
The younger couple was also teaching there.
In an e-mail interview with the Dawson Community News, Biggs said the country is trying to bounce back.
“The Japanese are amazingly stoic and resilient, very willing and eager to help their countrymen in distress,” Biggs wrote.
In a letter to his friends last week, he assured loved ones that the family was all right.
“We did not sustain any damage where we live, other than some pictures falling and a few things falling off shelves,” he wrote.
However, there is growing worry about the after-effects of nuclear contamination caused by the natural disasters.
“Radiation and the fate of the reactors is still a paramount concern,” Biggs wrote.
“Radiation raises people’s fear level, and as a result the military are now voluntarily evacuating dependents of military personnel.”
For now, Biggs must stay because he works for the military.
Obtaining certain amenities and necessities has been problematic.
“The gasoline lines for the Japanese have been horrendous,” he wrote. “Food in Japan stores seems sparse at times, but available. We get ours mostly on base ... there continues to be an adequate amount.”
Biggs resigned from the Dawson County School System on July 7, 2008. He had worked at the elementary school for five years and in the field of education for nearly four decades.
According to a DCN article from July 20, 2008, Biggs pursued the overseas opportunity in order to be close to his daughter, Jessica, and her husband, who were teachers at the naval base.
In his recent letter, Biggs thanked his friends.
“You may pass this on to those whom you think have an interest. We appreciate the prayers and concern expressed for us,” Biggs wrote.
Robinson Elementary Assistant Principal Kim Bennett provided the letter to DCN, and Biggs communicated via e-mail.
Biggs encouraged “those who can” to give to the American Red Cross.