Thursday, May 26, 2011

When Disaster Strikes

We're all accustomed to seeing reports of natural disasters on television and in newspapers and magazines. We look at the pictures and think "Oh, those poor people". But while we feel awful for them, we're warm and safe in our homes or offices.

I've been  very lucky in my life. I've been in storms that frightened me, but once they were over, life went back to normal. On a Friday evening in January 2007 an ice storm hit Springfield. The power went out about 6 PM, but we were confident it would be back on shortly. We got out candles and flashlights and waited.

The power remained out all weekend. Our cordless phones were useless and the cell phone batteries soon ran down. We had one corded phone that worked so we knew that the outside world was aware of our situation. We were lucky, we had a gas fireplace that kept the house warm enough for us to stay there, but we felt cold all the time.
 Branches and whole trees covered in ice began falling from the weight. Every time we stepped outside we could hear them crashing down around us.

 This was our neighbor's driveway.

 These were houses on our street.

 This is the school bus stop.
 The electricity stayed out for twelve days. Think about it, no lights in the winter evenings, no hot food, never feeling warm. We lost light and communications, the food in the refrigerators and freezers. We were safe, our house was standing and we were unhurt, but it caused anxiety and frayed nerves.
 The one lasting image from that experience was seeing disaster relief trucks and vans on my own street. We're used to seeing them on TV helping in disasters, but we never expect to see them in our town, on our street. It left a strange feeling, a feeling of being a victim and needing the help of strangers. It's an awful feeling.
Yesterday we stopped at Walmart to pick up some yogurt for the dogs and there we saw a group of National Guardsmen loading a truck with cases of bottled water for the residents of Joplin. It brought back all those feelings again.

When the power came on twelve days later, things quickly got back to normal. The people of Joplin have lost everything. Their houses are not standing, they are not safe and unhurt. Life may never get back to normal for some of them. If you can help, please do. You can contact the American Red Cross or whatever your favorite group is and they'll tell you how you can help most.

Tank is having a blanket drive, Project TOTO, for the suddenly homeless and frightened animals in Joplin. On his blog you can find the details. He's asking for people to send fleece blankets to:
                The Joplin Humane Society
                Animal Adoption and Resource Center
                140 E Emperor Lane
                Joplin, MO 64801
Everyone who participates can proudly display the Project Toto badge on your blog or web page.
 No one ever expects to be the victim of a disaster, but it can happen in an instant. Your life can be completely changed and you may be the one accepting the help of caring strangers. This is a "Pay It Forward" moment. Let's all help.


rottrover said...

Very thoughtfully written. Thanks.

Dexter said...

We sent the dollars to the doggies in Joplin. It is impossible to imagine what it is like. The worst thing momma has been through is the big blizzard of '78, but she was just a young thing of 20 and thought it was all a big adventure.


Stella said...

Great post, Sue! I was poking around upstairs looking for some fleece when I found one of my first pieced quilts and felt like it would be a good thing to send. I'm glad I checked the Humane Soc Website because they said NO COMFORTER type quilts, so that one will stay home on Stella's bed and we will go look again for fleece!

Cheers and hugs,

Jo, Stella and Zkhat

Bella Roxy & Macdui said...

Great message.

XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

The Daily Pip said...

What a beautiful post! We are going to be sending off some blankets today.

Your pal, Pip

SissySees said...

I happen to have supplies to make no-sew fleece blankets at home. I'm sure the fur-girls won't mind donating their fabrics to such a good cause!

Lapdog Creations said...

Wonderful post...... wonderful...

Dawn said...

Such a wonderful post....

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sue! This was beautifully written and I appreciate your help in spreading the word.

Kathy & Tank

parlance said...

Yes, we all need to know that it could be us next involved in a disaster. It seems to be happening all around lately.

Just a little note: since the horrible bushfires in Australia a couple of years ago, I have bought a thing that is a wind-up torch, has a radio in it, and can generate enough power (by you winding the handle) to power up a cellphone.It also has a bright light that flashes on and off as a distress signal. Are they available where you are?

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