Friday, April 27, 2012

Home Sweet Tuscaloosa

This was the image of Tuscaloosa one year ago today as a F-5 tornado stormed through Tuscaloosa causing death and destruction still being felt today. Everywhere we go, if anyone mentions Tuscaloosa, people ask if we were affected by the storm. EVERYONE in Tuscaloosa was affected -maybe not physically, but emotionally. I think everyone could say - what if? What if I had been at Hobby Lobby where I frequently shop? What if I had gone to the DCH Credit Union that day? What if I had been driving past Midtown which I do almost daily? What if there was no James Spann and others to warn us? What if we had not listened? What if our school system had not heeded the warnings and not gotten our students home earlier in the day? What if our hospital had taken a direct hit (it was so close!)...................For the first hour or so after the tornado passed through, that is just what was being reported on the radio (we had no power)  - that DCH Regional Medical Center was destroyed! I was speechless from that news - because of the impact that DCH has on caring for the sick and injured and because of the 20 years of my life that was invested there as employee! Fortunately, my in-laws could get television reports and were able to dispel that rumor. It was bad enough!!................... I will never forget one night later in a very surreal moment, standing in an assembly line at a sorority house in the dark removing food from their kitchen to take to local elementary school to be used to provide meals for workers. Only the sound of sirens in the background! ...I will never forget hearing Betty Terry tell the story of her and husband being buried under the rubble of their home, being rescued by a neighbor and finding her walker standing upright as she emerged from the rubble. She had just had knee surgery!... I will never forget taking a meal to a family in our church who lost their home and seeing the dazed look in their eyes from shock and sheer exhaustion!... I will never forget the call from our beloved sitter whose son and daughter-in-law had lost their apartment... I will never forget calling my neighbors who own Krispy Kreme and the relief in finding out they were OK....I will never forget realizing that my friend, Judy, lived in the path of destruction and not being able to reach her on the phone.... Today.............Hobby Lobby is back, Krispy Kreme just broke ground, the Terrys are in a new home, the Hubbards celebrate with an open house at their new home today, McDonald's is back, Full Moon and Hokkaido are on their way, Judy is fine!......Tuscaloosa is not the same but one thing is for sure - we have great leadership, a great vision and an amazing community spirit! Thanks to everyone from near and far who have contributed in any way to the recovery of this great community! We are blessed beyond measure!

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