Monday, May 30, 2011

Devastation and Despair

I have been absent from blogging for a while. My goodness it has been hectic and busy around here. I think we have not had one day/night where there hasn't been "something" going on. You understand I know! And then you throw a few tornados in there and people's lives are turned upside down. My heart aches for all the families who have lost a family member, hunted a family member, lost a home, and just had the normalcy of every day life ripped out from under them.

Last Thursday my school district Superintendent organized trips to help with tornado clean up. We were able to sign up to go to either Joplin, MO or Reading, KS to help in place of a work day at school. We had a HUGE number of employees volunteer. I went to the Reading, KS community. It is about an hour away and we had around 40 teachers go. We left at 7:30 a.m and returned around 5:00 p.m. It was a very rewarding day. This is a very small community of approximately 230 people. We arrived in town to sign in with the Red Cross and began work on homes, a park, and a ball park. A group we met up with was really wanting our help on cleaning up their small ball park field to allow a "ballgame" to be played soon so they could get back to some type of normal and provide a "morale" boost for the community. One of the young women told me that Wed. night they held a church service outside and she was saddened by the somber, sadness of so many and as they began to sing hymns....she saw "hope" come back to them. Perhaps they felt God was with them.

We came armed with gloves, rakes, shovels, chainsaws and we were blessed with wonderful people who gave us food, water, and so many thanks. Little did they know but they were so inspiring and uplifting to us.

I could not imagine standing and looking at your home wide open with no walls, no roof, and all your personal possessions exposed, wet, and appearing to be a pile of trash. But to them, it was their life. Although was their everyday life that you and I also live with. It is the safe haven we come home to every night. It is our security of a meeting place for our family. It is HOME.

I watched the bulldozers and skid loaders scoop up their "lives" and dump it into a dumpster. I picked up enough shingles today to last me a lifetime. The protection over their heads they relied on every night. I watched as the trees that stood in their yards and shaded their homes be cut down and sawed up and stacked into piles to be used as firewood.

I talked to a few people who watched the tornado approach their community that night, have true fear set in, hear the sirens roaring,  and then prepare in a few minutes for a tornado to destroy their town as they took cover in the best shelter they could. I heard them talk about the man and woman who lived in a trailor and how it took the trailor off it's slab and tip it over and ultimately take the life of the man.

I saw baby cribs exposed in homes and was thankful there was no baby sleeping in that crib that night.

I heard that an 80 year old woman had a fire that destroyed her trailor a while back and just last week had a new trailor set in it's place a few days before the tornado. It was now demolished by a bulldozer and hauled off.

On May 21, 2011 around 9:15PM, an EF3 tornado hit Reading. It was three blocks wide and stayed on the ground for about four miles. The tornado destroyed at least 56 of 110 homes and 14 of 21 businesses. The post office and fire station suffered major damage. One person died and two were hospitalized. Early damage estimates topped $2.2 million.

And this is just a minor few snippets of what I saw in a day in a very small town hit by a tornado. There was another large group of our teachers that went to Joplin today and they saw even more devastation.They worked all day as well trying to help people clean up. They are still looking for people. They are still hoping to claim family in a makeshift morgue.

Please pray for all these communities that are hurting.....Reading,KS     Joplin, MO    Sedalia, MO     Oklahoma City, OK    and the list goes on. 

I saw so little today but really....for much. I have never had to experience a tornado. I was so sorry for the people, so sad for these people, and they will be in my prayers.  God is with them. I will pray they turn to Him and ask for comfort and strength. They are dealing with this every morning when they wake up and every night as they lay their head down to sleep.
May God bless them!

I will be absent for a few days....Darb has her Junior Trip to Washington DC/Baltimore/Philadelphia/New York this week and Daddy and I are going along as sponsors. Dad goes about every year and this will be my 5th time. It's a great trip and we get the opportunity to see many sites. That being said....I will admit the bus ride is a killer!! I can't wait to share some pics with you when I get home!


GardenofDaisies said...

What happened to Reading and Joplin and Sedalia was truly awful. Last week, it could have been us, but thank God it stayed up in the clouds and didn't drop on our house. Scary. I appreciate so much that you were able to be there, on the ground, doing some of the physical clean up of the town. We keep hearing on the news that they need money, so we donate to the Red Cross.
Have a wonderful time on your trip out East!!

Linda Stubbs said...

Wow, I have missed you and thought I would come over and say hi. It was bad those night of the tornados. We had one north of our farm 10 away. Tooo close for me. You are such a precious lady to go an help. Hope you get to come back to blogland soon. You have been missed!!!! Hugs, Linda

Dee said...

Tanya what a wonderful thing you and the others did for these people. Thank you for sharing it. It makes us all realize how quickly our lives can be changed forever. God be with each of them in the days and months ahead. And God be with you. :)

sarah @ life {sweet} life said...

I'm with you - I just can't wrap my mind around the devastation. Truly heartbreaking. So awesome that you guys are able to do some outreach!