The Tornadoes’ Aftermath

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There is nothing quite like sifting through the debris that, a few days ago, was someone’s house to put things into perspective. Sunday afternoon, my family went with our church’s small group out to volunteer our time in some of the areas worst hit by last week’s tornadoes.

Our first couple of stops were pretty easy. Cut up a few trees and haul them away. Then, we went to the final stop where we spent the rest of the afternoon. All those people who told me that you just couldn’t understand until you saw it yourself were right.

When we first pulled up, I couldn’t comprehend what I was seeing. I thought it was just a field full of debris. It wasn’t until we got closer and I saw the concrete foundation that I realized the debris was what was left of someone’s house – someone’s three-story, all brick house.

There was literally nothing left but the concrete slab on which it had been built and the pool, full of debris. Oh, and the car sitting on its side in what used to be their living room.

I don’t know how anyone survived that, but they did. The couple is in the hospital, but they’re alive. Their neighbor, whose house looked just like theirs, was over, on crutches and bruised, trying to help.

I still can’t comprehend the force it took to level that house or twist their iron entry gate like it was made of paper.

I know that my kids sure weren’t complaining about their cable being out – though, to give them credit, they really hadn’t complained before. They got the fact that this was bad.

We’re ready to go, though. School for us this week is going to consist of volunteering as much as possible. Even Megan can pick up debris. We may not be able to operate chain saws, but we can drag away limbs. I can drive and distribute meals. I’m not sure what we’ll be doing, but we’ll be doing something.

How can we not?

Oh, and, as much as the thought of it makes me woozy, I can donate blood. I went to do it Monday, but they had so many people show up they weren’t accepting any more donors. I’ll get there earlier today.

Please continue praying for those affected by last week’s tornadoes. You can’t imagine.


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  1. It's a very good thing you and your family are doing. I have some things I want to send to Birmingham AL but cant afford the shipping cost. I asked the news to help me find someone but they ignored me. Wonderful thing to teach your kids!

  2. great reminder post, that devestation is gut wrenching in real life! thank you for taking the time to volunteer to help those folks out. being from the midwest i know what tornadoes can do and i just thank you for being willing to walk alongside folks like that when they need it!!

  3. Glad y'all are ok. We were also very blessed to not be hit. My husband's family and extended family (as well as many friends) did lose a lot, though. So sad and so humbling.

    I was impressed by the organization of the cleanup, but doubly impressed by the thankfulness people are expressing. It is so uplifting to see people that have lost so much still be thankful to God.

    Donating blood is a great idea – something I can "do". Thanks!

  4. (tears streaming down my face) Kris what a great thing you and the family are doing! God Bless and we are praying for everyone involved!

  5. I don't know about you, but we've had conflicting reports here. First we were told to stay out of the area that they were checking id's and we wouldn't be allowed. Then we heard that people were volunteering, now we've told that you can only volunteer if you are part of an organized group. For the most part the information we received had been incredible. I really think our area did a great job but we do want to help and weren't sure how to go about it until now. We'll be helping the rest of the week with a group. I'm not looking forward to the devastation, I can hardly see the pictures without getting a lump in my throat. But we are looking forward to helping in what seems to me, a very small way. (((Hugs)))

  6. So glad that you weren't hurt or lost property in the storms!! What a horrific thing! I wish I were closer to help!

  7. Kris, I live in Northern Alabama and the damage here was unbelievable. We were without power for 5 days. Thankfully my city, Decatur, did not have damage but all around us it is in ruins. I love what you said about school this week will consist of volunteering. That is what we have been doing too! Isn't it amazing to be able to show our kids how important it is to help each other? Glad you are safe.

  8. There was an F-5 tornado not a 1/4 mile from us when I was 15. It is life changing. It almost gives you nightmares. When the wind blows, you get nervous.

    Why we moved to hurricane alley is beyond me. LOL

  9. Kris ~ we are in Peachtree City and a horrible tornado leveled parts of Brooks, just a short distance from us. A Homeschool friend lost her brother in the tornado. My kids and I are cooking and baking for them, but now I want to find more ways to help. I know the fear we had huddled in our basement last Wednesday night, and I just cannot imagine it destroying my home or taking a loved one from me.

    Your children are learning such wonderful lessons in compassion.

  10. My 14yo son has gone to help family in Smithville, Mississippi, where they experienced a devastating tornado last week, too. He is learning a lot, in spite of being out of "school" this week.

  11. These tornadoes made me realize what a miracle it was that only two people died during our tornadoes two years ago. The devastation and destruction is impossible to comprehend, even when you are looking at it in person.

  12. My prayers to all who are affected! Is there something that a person many miles away can do? Please post any ideas you may have!

  13. I am so far behind on reading blog posts, but I just read a few of your most recent. The damage from these storms is mind-boggling. I can't imagine walking up to the scene you described in this post. Your children are learning so much more by helping w/the clean-up than they would doing book work this week. You are being great parents by including them in this!

  14. Barbara,

    That's so kind of you to ask. Based on what I've seen, the biggest ways for someone outside the area to help would be donating to a reputable relief organization, such as the Salvation Army or the Red Cross, both of which I have seen in and around town.

    Something else I heard of someone doing was placing an order for needed supplies through Amazon and having it shipped to a local address. Supplies that seem to be in high demand right now are those needed for clean-up, such as dust masks, ear plugs, safety glasses, work gloves, heavy duty trash bags, etc.

    Thanks for asking!

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