Wednesday, May 11, 2011

North Alabama

My Bride and I went up to North Alabama this past weekend to help the Tornado survivors.  We went to a small rural area around Moulton Alabama.  We really had no idea what we’d be doing, but we were ready to work.  My Bride worked her booty off before we went to gather donations, get trucks, and round up volunteers.  We turned our church into a drop off site, and we were overwhelmed with the support our church and community gave us.  It was so awesome to see how giving of a community we have.  We loaded up my truck and hitched a trailer to it and took as much as we could, and we still had another two truckloads left at the church. It felt so good to roll up to Kierra’s Hope and unload all these supplies. 
That was the easy part, the rest of this I just don’t know if I can put it into words…  I have such a renewed belief in the spirit of people now.  I honestly don’t know where to go with my words right now, so many thoughts, so many things to tell, but where to start?  How can I describe with words the things I’ve seen with my eyes and felt with my heart?  We got there a week after the storm came through.  The people of North Alabama had all pulled together and cleaned a lot of the trees up.  We took the supplies that we brought to Kierra’s Way and loaded up in a truck and open trailer and went down the roads handing out cold waters, cold Gatorades, and juice boxes for the kids.  We had several people make us peanut butter sandwiches so we had those to hand out.  We were also donated hotdogs so we grilled them and handed them out.  If someone needed anything on our runs we’d take orders from and run supplies back to them.
Tents were donated, and I really hoped that since it had been a week since the storms came through we wouldn’t need to give out any tents, but I was wrong.  People still didn’t have anywhere to sleep, and were very grateful to be given a tent.
We met some amazing people.  We met a family that lost pretty much everything, but invited us to their child’s first birthday party that was being thrown for them by a local church’s youth group.  We went to the party and they made us play on the inflatables and slide down the slide.  This family said that after they made it through the storm they came outside to take pictures of their house and email to family.  One family member called balling his eyes out after getting the pictures and asked if they had looked at them.  When they looked at them they could see an angel over the corner of the house that everyone was in as the storm when by and ripped the roof off the house, almost sucking some of the people out of the house.  Another family member was in a trailer that got picked up by the tornado and rolled several times, moving almost 400 yards from where it stated, before coming to a rest in a pile of debris.  There were three people in the trailer, and all made out it out with only one of them having just as much as some cuts.  The trailer?  If you saw it you wouldn’t even know it started out as a trailer.  How anyone survived in that I’ll never know.
We stayed with a family who’s house was in the direct line of the tornado.  They put their faith in God, read Psalms 91, prayed and watched the tornado go by without as much as breaking a window in their house.  Their neighbors that lived behind them were killed.  The house completely destroyed.  The man we stayed with found two of his neighbors bodies laying out in a field.  A father and son killed.  The mom wasn’t at the house when the storm went through.
We met a lady who had set up a tent on the slab of what used to be her mother’s house as she was waiting on the insurance people to arrive.  Her mother was in the house when it was taken away.  She was found a few days later in a pond wearing nothing but her bath robe and still holding her Bible.  What do you say to someone that has just returned back to the slab where her mom used to have a house just a few hours after burying her?  I’m not equipped to handle a situation like this.  Saying, “We have cold water, Gatorade, and some sandwiches” just doesn’t seem to be what this family needs right now.
These same people that lost so much, pulled together and started picking up the pieces of their lives, but not only their lives, they went to neighbors houses and helped them remove trees, find belongs, and start the rebuilding processes.  Am I a strong enough man to lose my Bride, and not only start picking up what is left of my life, but help a neighbor start picking up their pieces as well?  Could I stand in my living room staring down a raging tornado, put all my faith in God that I will not be harmed, read scripture and just pray?  I don’t know if I could, but I am strong enough of a man to donate what little money I have, and some vacation days to go and help these hurting people. 
Please remember that this is going to be a long process, if you can donate anything, these people will need it.  They no longer have a kitchen to go get a snack out of.  They no longer have a car to get into to drive to get groceries, or a hot meal.  What is left of some of their entire lives now fit in a Rubbermaid container that was given to them by someone that donated it.  I know not everyone can do the things my bride and I were able to do, but at the very least, please say a pray for everyone that has been affected by this storm.  I’ve taken some pictures, but I have uploaded to them to my computer.  I’m still debating on posting them or not.  They are just pictures to us, but to someone they mean a lot more and are so much more personal.


  1. Oh Cas. I haven't seen it first hand (to that extent, just parts of Bham and surrounding areas), and I haven't come in contact with survivors who have nothing left,but I know it's got to be life changing. When I just drove through some areas and SAW it, I lost it and brought back a bunch of bags of donations and food and some money. It is so awful, but I have to say I am so proud and impressed with our state and how we are pulling together and getting a lot of shi- done in a short amount of time. It's that Southern hospitality and we are going to get through this. I am glad y'all did this-I think it really does good for you in more ways than one.

  2. Cas, that is so awesome that you and Melissa were here doing that! Our area was definitely hit but nothing like Tuscaloosa, Cullman, Hanceville, or anywhere, Alabama! Keep the prayers going strong for those less fortunate!