November 6th, 2008 marks the third anniversary that an F3 tornado traveled 41 miles through Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties in Southwestern Indiana, killing 25 people. Alongside several hundred other volunteers, I helped to clean up the devastation left in it's wake. For those that survived that fateful night but lost a child or loved one, the pain is still very much there.
The Remembering November 6th Committee is reaching out to help others in need this year by refurbishing The Goodwill Family Shelter in our city. We have several rooms sponsored so far and the donations continue to exceed our expectations. If anyone is interested in helping please email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have spread the word and several kind-hearted businesses in town are rallying the troops! Several organizations are giving of both their time and money. We are encouraged to have support and are looking forward to helping preserve the mememories of those that were lost while honoring them on November 6th with the work we are doing at the shelter.
I will be posting pictures of our progress at the shelter and as usual will be giving the play by play on twitter!
November 6, 2005
I was watching it all on TV, waiting for my husband to get home so that I could go check on my grandmother who lived a block east of Angel Mounds. Angel Mounds is a stone's throw from the mobile home park that was nearly completely destroyed. They had said it was headed straight for her. My husband came home from work around 2:30 am, and went to check on her (he would not let me go!) Our son was almost 2, and sleeping soundly at that time of the morning.
It took several hours to reach her but my Grandma was ok. She had slept through the entire storm. Houses were completely destroyed just blocks away.
The next morning I felt so helpless...I just knew I had to do something, anything to help. I fully expected to hear from the non-profit I was working for at the time but they never called. Instead, I called two girlfriends and we hopped in my husbands truck. Cell phones and phone books in hand we just started calling businesses and they were more than willing to help. We called Papa Johns in Village Commons (truck load of pizza), McDonalds on Main Street(truck load of cheeseburgers), and we filled up the back of the truck with warm food for the relief workers several times over. Panera Bread on Burkhart kept the coffee flowing and donated untold gallons. Walmart on Burkhardt loaded the back of our truck with as much water and snacks as it could hold several times. We distributed the food to the Eastbrooke mobile home park and to the CVS in Newburgh, where the firefighters and rescue workers went for breaks. I actually hauled Firefighters in my truck form the mobile home park to various relief stations.
Here is the special section of the local paper dedicated to the victims of the tornado:
I just wanted to share my memories and to let others know these businesses are remarkable, they said "How fast can you get here," "We'll make as many as we can," others said "Please come and get whatever you need." I am proud to have these businesses in my community.
I read something at the holocaust museum in Washington DC while in college that changed my life: Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Meade
Never feel too small, little things can make a difference.