“Close enough, but not too far.”

- David Byrne

We got the call just after 6:00.

Jon Ezzell, Director of Communications at the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus, was leaving the Fountain City Classic and as he approached the 13th Street viaduct he saw a massive wall of smoke rising from the area around the historic Swift Mill. Being a client, and above that a friend, Jon notified us that it might be best if we headed downtown to see if our office in the Depot was in any immediate danger.

 

We headed to Naartjie en masse and in a rush to grab as many computers as we could. After all, as historic as our own building is, it can be rebuilt. Years and years – decades – of our creative vision, artistic endeavor, and hard work, were it lit to kindling by a falling ember, would be virtually impossible to replace. We’ve often heard it said that the first thing people grab when running back into a burning home are the photo albums.  We can empathize now. These computers down here aren’t just tools we use to hammer out ads, spots, blogs, and web pages – they are our photo albums. We work for our clients, sure, but we are truly proud of the work. It would have been quite sad to lose all the personal/professional history that has taken Basset & Becker to the point where it could become Naartjie Multimedia. After all, insurance doesn’t cover memories.

 

 

Thankfully, our business, like so many others in the area, was spared due to the unbelievably heroic and tireless efforts of Columbus’ Bravest – the Columbus, Georgia Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services. We sat huddled around a police scanner until nearly 11:00, and let me tell you: the men and women tasked to battle fires in the Valley, especially the conflagration that rose from the old Swift Mill Saturday night, are some of the most well-trained, coordinated, professional, and fearless people a city could have beating back the flames. It got intense at several points throughout the night, but they kept their wits and just went about their business. We were glad to hear them shift tact to defensive maneuvers – losing the Swift Mill was sad enough. The loss of even one of these (forgive me) “badasses” would have been beyond tragic. We here at Naartjie Multimedia applaud their training, their resolve, above all, their braveness to take on a scene that would make most wither. Thanks so much to everyone in the department.

 

So, today it was back to work. Except for the stench of burning chemicals that wafts in every now and then, the surreal “Mad Max-ian” scene of destruction just outside the front door, and the intermittent interruptions from local news teams interviewing Bill to get the “near-brush-with-disaster” angle (both story and shot), it has been a pretty normal Monday. We’ve had a lot of clients call, email, or hit our social media pages to check that all was well in Naartjie Land. And for that, we thank you. Especially you, Jon. We really appreciate the heads up.

 

Soon Sixth Avenue will open back up.  When it does, we invite you to come by and see us. When you narrowly avert a catastrophe like we did this weekend, it makes you take stock of what is truly important. For us, it is our team, our work, and the process…

 

None of which would exist if it weren’t for you.

 

We treasure our relationship with each of you and look forward to many, many more years of creative collaboration.

 

Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em,

 

~Team Naartjie