Friday, April 30, 2010

#71 - CHECK!

Number 71 on my list of 101 things to do in 1,001 days was to volunteer my time to help out Saint Mark's Disaster Relief team. I had the opportunity to knock this off yesterday! Myself along with Justin, his parents, his sister, and two other church members met up at the church at 7am to drive over to Albertville, AL to help with the tornado damage. For those of you readers that are not in Alabama, a massive tornado hit Albertville this past Saturday and devastated much of the city. It was an F3 tornado and it's only by God's grace that no one was killed.

Justin and his mom went up there on Wednesday also, but didn't do any manual labor. The boys were hoping to do manual labor when we got there yesterday, but no such luck. The City of Albertville needed us for another reason. FEMA needed an estimate on how many hours people were spending on cleaning up damage. This included the owners of the home, any friends or neighbors that helped out, and even any professionals they hired to help clean up their homes. Based on this information, FEMA would know how much money to give to aid Albertville in getting back on its feet. So our jobs was to walk from house to house asking the residents a series of questions to get this information.

Most people were very nice and welcoming, others were a little standoff-ish. I guess I would be too if someone was asking me if I lived alone or how old I was or for a phone number. I remember this one lady the most because she said that so many people were coming by offering their help, but no one had actually stepped up to do anything. She had finally gotten some Baptist Church volunteers to clean and cut up the trees in her yard to put on the side of the street for pickup.

We were trying to help organize things because no one knew where to ask for help or how much more needed to be done to what houses. So that was basically what we did. Our group of 7 people were given about 10 streets of houses to cover between us, so we split up and went door to door seeing if anyone needed any medical supplies or food so that we could get that information to FEMA/Red Cross.

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Do you see the curb that was lifted up with this tree?? It is so crazy to me that winds from a tornado can do that!

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This is me and my sister-in-law, Jennifer, as we were going house to house. Fun fact: Jen informed me yesterday that she has started a 101 List herself :) I'm hoping to convince her to start a blog, but we'll see how that goes.

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Albertville High School got a TON of damage! This pic is of the portables that were completely turned upside down!! P.S. that's Justin and his dad, Gordon, in the picture surveying the damage.

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Pictures can't do this one justice. This warehouse had a wall that completely fell over into the street. On the ground you can still see all the bricks lined up in a row in perfect order.

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This picture and the one after is of a home that was completely and totally demolished. You can see the wall that had a window on it, the matresses from the bed and even dressers and personal clothing.

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It is so hard to imagine what these people are going through until you see it and talk to the people. Guys PLEASE pray for these residents. They still do not have power which means they can't heat up food or keep it refrigerated and they have no air conditioning while the high is in the 80's. We met a few people that, because their home was moved off the foundation, they have to pay for their entire house to be destroyed and re-built. Many of these people do not have home insurance so please please please pray for them. I can't imagine what that must be like. It was a great experience for me and I was only able to do it because my firm allows us volunteer days that do not count against our PTO. I am planning on getting certified to be an official member of our First Response Disaster Relief team so that I can do this again.

On a side note, how happy am I that my sister-in-law is doing a 101 List!?!?! On top of that, I have a follower that said she's been following for a while that has just started a 101 List. I don't know her personally, but I do know her soon-to-be sister-in-law. The link to Brenna's 101 List is here. Follow her and root her on in completing her list! I love how quickly this list is spreading to other people!!!!

3 comments:

Lauren K said...

You have such a huge heart. How awesome that your firm gives you volunteer days! These pics remind me of the work I did with Katrina clean up in Ocean Shores. Just devastating.

Colt and Ashley Byrom said...

Wow! Thanks for posting this. I had no idea how bad it was...

VALERIE KERMIN said...

Thanks for such useful information; by the way I am pastor at Covenant Church at LA. Our church is looking for church management software. So we can be in touch with our people anywhere, anytime. One of my co worker suggested church management software . He said they provide very good software for congregation along with great customer support. Any information about them will be very helpful to take decision.

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