The spirit of the individual is fueling the recovery of Houston and surrounding areas.
As the disaster unfolded the images and stories of common people helping others made us all aware of something that conveyed a sense of hope and pride. Something that awakened another something within many more people to say "what can I do to help?" That something is spirit and it's contagious.
Once free, this outbreak of spirit became a pandemic that would not be constrained by proximity. Good people started arriving spontaneously from all over Texas and nearby states. It wasn't long before more were arriving from all over the United States and even from other countries.
What many did not see were the people who stepped up to contribute with charity, space, coordination, and effort. People who didn't have the liberty to participate in local rescue and recovery activities found ways to contribute remotely with donations of clothes, food, water, supplies, equipment, and money.
Texas' first responders are some of the best in the world but the size and scope of the emergency proved to be too much for any agency. No agency has as many boats as were needed.
Who does have enough boats? Individual people have boats and many of those people also had something inside them that told them they were needed and drove them - maybe with one or two of their buddies - to get out there and do something long before someone official noticed and started asking anyone with a boat to help.
We should not diminish the major role that local, state and federal governments has had and will play in the recovery effort. Limited government is necessary to assist with resources, shelter, facilitation, enforcement, and disaster recovery funding. However, government is limited by it's own hierarchical centralization and cannot respond effectively and efficiently with any immediacy. It is likely many hundreds, if not thousands, would have died if not for the distributed effort provided by the common person who was willing to step up and help without being asked or told.
Let us never forget the goodness, ingenuity, and drive of the individual. When this spirit is aggregated we become a better people.