Monday, May 9, 2011

Cleaning Up

Last Monday morning, we woke with power. As mentioned in the last post, the power came on at my parents’ house about 3:00 a.m. on Monday morning. My dad and I got on our work clothes and headed into town. Our first stop was Mullins. Since we hadn’t had a hot breakfast in a long while, we stopped in for a hot biscuit and it was really good. We then made a quick stop by my house so I could close up my windows since the AC was back in action.

We then headed out to the Toney area of town where our friends Colene and Gary live. You may recall that upon reading the newspaper on Friday, we discovered that their house was hit by one of the tornadoes. My mom had called Colene the day before and asked if we could come out and help them do some clean up work and she said yes.

When we got there, Colene and Gary were not at home so we called them to see what needed to be done. Colene’s cell phone battery went dead during our conversation and so my dad and I just hung around to see if they would soon be home. While waiting, I made a couple of phone calls and my dad passed out cold drinks to the county workers who were cleaning up tree debris from the roads.

Gary and Colene soon pulled in and said there wasn’t much to be done except for trying to straighten up what was once Gary’s workshop. Colene and I walked through what was once their house to see if there was anything else she needed from inside. The county workers told us once they applied for assistance through FEMA, that FEMA would come in and bulldoze down the house and the bulldoze what was once the workshop out to the road to be picked up by the county. Can you imagine your house being bulldozed out to the curb? So sad! As we were walking through the house a group of four guys arrived; I don’t know who they were or who they were affiliated with, but they started helping us with the clean-up and straightening of what was left of the workshop. Not long after the four guys arrived, another group showed up to help; again, I don’t know who they were or how they ended up there. Then a group from Mastin Lake Church of Christ came to help and before the day was out another family that I go to church with, the Cothrens, came to help. Before the day was over, I think there were around 30 people helping to clean things up.

The National Guard came and dropped off some cases of water and the Sherriff’s department brought seven or eight really large tarps for us to cover everything with since we were scheduled for rain again. My dad and I left about 2:00 or so. All of us together were able to organize things into piles and get them covered up. There were still some things that needed to be tarped before we left, but the Cothrens agreed to get that done and told us to go on home – since we were both pretty tired, we agreed to do just that.

It was a long and very emotional day. The pictures you see on TV and in the newspaper are nothing compared to seeing the tragedy up close and in person. It's a very humbling experience to say the least. I already felt very blessed to still have my home and family and friends, but after spending the day at Gary and Colene’s, I was even more grateful for those blessings.

Some tree stumps pulled up by the roots at Juanez' house.
She lives next door to Gary and Colene.
The branches, etc. had already been cut off and carried away.

I thought this was intersting and hope you can see it okay.
This is a mop stuck in the ground. I am assuming the tornado caused this.

At what was once Gary's workshop before we left for the day.
Those are the Cothrens working.


Kimberly Washer said...

So sad! So glad you guys were able to go over and help!

Erika said...

I just cannot imagine what it would feel like to have your home completely destroyed. So sad.

Candy said...

We drove the youth group down to Hackelburg Saturday and you are right, seeing it in person is completely different that seeing pictures on the news/paper. It was so sad! Glad you and your family were all OK and didn't have any damage!