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Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tornado Day 8

Today is the one week landmark since the November 17 tornado. All of us are thinking of that today.  We think of how life changed in a brief moment for so many people.

I was incorrect that meals would not be served at Crossroads on Sunday.  When we arrived about 8:10 AM I believe they had served breakfast to Salvation Army folks.  The chefs that were here yesterday were preparing food to send out into the field.  Nikki told me that an estimated 30,000 meals have been served at Crossroads or sent out to the field not including what was served last Sunday because no one was keeping track then.  The majority of supplies and food is being donated.  It is truly a testimony to the goodwill of people.

The Salvation Army is so wholly deserving of respect and support.  Along with Samaritan's Purse, Operation Blessing, and other lesser known organizations such as Disaster Relief at Work or DRAW, The Salvation Army is a steady healing force here.  DRAW is the disaster relief organization to which Mary, Greg, Andrew, and Anthony/Jose belong.  They are first responders to a site.  Mary was at Crossroads from the start.  I don't know how she got here that fast from Michigan. I figure she must have a bag packed and ready to go at a moment's notice.

It is very cold here today..  It was 10 degrees at 4 AM when I awoke.  The skies are clear and it is sunny but the cold air and wind are brutal.  Thankfully the first few days after the tornado were mild.  Then we had two days of rain and then the very cold weather.  It could be much worse.

One of the reasons people were not allowed back into their neighborhoods is that it was unsafe.  Without streetlights you can't see where you are going.  There is glass, nails, sharp edges, and debris everywhere.  Initially there were broken gas lines and downed electrical lines.  It seems that electrical lines are still down and possibly a danger.  When people are focused on digging through the remains of their home it would be easy to overlook such things.  We've heard that today, Sunday, is possibly the last day to retrieve items from homes as heavy equipment will be coming in on Monday.

Today is my day off from kitchen duty at Crossroads.  I'm getting things done around the house that have been neglected this week. Monday and Tuesday I'll be back at Crossroads ready to pitch in.

Our services this morning at Crossroads were well attended, as expected.  There were people directing parking.  Inside the church people were hugging one another and sharing their "so glad to be alive" stories.  Therapy dogs were on hand for comfort.  There was counseling available. Traditional Thanksgiving hymns such as "Now Thank We All Our God" and We Gather Together" swelled with emotion as the congregation sang. At our prayer time we joined hands as we sang, "Precious Lord, take my Hand." (said to be Martin Luther King JR's favorite hymn). Again, words that mean so much all the time but even more at a time of tragedy.

Despite the devastation we keep talking about how fortunate we are that there was not more loss of life.  I know I have written this before but when you see the extent of the damage it is truly a miracle that people survived, even in a basement.  The path of the tornado went between two churches, narrowly missed our Five Points Community building, several grade schools, and the high school.  The fact that it hit on Sunday morning when many were in church saved many lives.  Still, people must have been driving on Business 24 and North Main when the tornado crossed these major roads. I'm amazed that people were not killed on the roads with falling trees, downed power poles and lines, and debris flying through the air.  Cars were tossed around by the tornado.




 

1 comment:

twinsetellen said...

Just listening to your podcast right now, Paula. You have given us all a gift, helping us understand how it is and giving us guidance on how to help. And reminding us how fortunate so many of us are. Thank you. And my best wishes to Washington as you all work to recover.

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I play the Great Highland Pipes, knit, observe nature, and read. My name on Ravelry is PrairiePiper. Find me on Instagram as KnittingPipeline.