We've seen the devastating effects of the tornado on the news, but in the midst of the rubble are incredible stories of those who are reaching out and and rallying around the victims of the storm.
All across Tuscaloosa, churches are setting up relief centers to assist the victims with clothing, food, water, tarps, toiletries, baby items and even sunscreen. I've been told by several family members that about every twenty to thirty minutes volunteers would offer them water and food.
My former church, along with another church also had a dessert drive so that they could bless the National Guard troops that are working very long hours in the city. From what I heard, they collected quite an assortment of treats for them.
Many people who were not affected have been assisting those who were. I was amazed at the people who showed up with chainsaws to remove trees and helped people put tarps or roofing materials on damaged roofs. A lot of people, many of them University of Alabama students, just walked around asking if they could assist with anything. They helped people move what few belongings could be salvaged. The community didn't wait for the government to step in and offer aid, they took matters into their own hands. It was a beautiful thing to witness.
There are so many heroes and angels of mercy in Tuscaloosa right now, but I have a few personal heroes that I want to tell you about.
My first hero is a manager at my local Walmart. When we decided on Saturday morning to drive to Tuscaloosa on Sunday, I knew that I could not go down empty handed with such great needs. One way or another I had to bring supplies to assist the people there. I didn't have much time or money, but I sent out a plea on a social networking site and we told a few of our neighbors about our trip. I knew that on such short notice not many people could help so I went to Walmart and asked if they could donate supplies for us to take down. I didn't really think they could, but I thought just maybe they would give us a discount. To my utter amazement and joy that precious manager gave us as much water as we could safely carry in our van. She said that she could also give us $30 worth of other merchandise.
I chose baby wipes knowing that many people had no water and could not shower.
(This picture was taken after we had already delivered some of the supplies.)
My local Walmart and that sweet lady, (I would give her name but I don't have permission from her to do so), are my heroes!
My next heroes are the two precious children that I babysit. The girl is six and the boy is five. These two cuties have been near and dear to our hearts for several years.
They wanted to help and used their own birthday money to buy four cases of water. They were so excited to be helping children who had no fresh water to drink. Heroes can come in all sizes.
My neighbors and friends who stepped up on such short notice to bring relief items to my home, one sweet couple even gave a personal contribution to help pay for our gas. All are heroes to me.
There are other personal heroes, but they deserve a post of their own.
Edit: I've been thinking about this post and I realize that hero may be a strong word to use for people who do nothing more than donate water and goods. Because the disaster was so devastating and the need so great and because my own family was affected, I used it for lack of a better word. To me a hero is someone who is selfless and goes beyond what is required of them to serve someone else. If people who do nothing more than throw a ball and entertain can be heroes, then surely people who give and serve those in need can be heroes too. I am truly thankful for all that people have done to help and the selfless acts that I have witnessed, especially those who have assisted my own family and their community of Holt.