Monday, July 4, 2011

Tornadoes in Massachusetts

There are many things that you think about when you choose where to live.  Certainly there are considerations about jobs, family, education, etc, but often there is part of you that is searching for safety.  When you live in the northeast, you figure that you are fairly safe: major hurricanes only come by every ten years or so, earthquakes are generally minor, forest fires are usually contained, and tornadoes are usually small and rarely affect the population.  We do have winter storms, but they eventually melt.  All and all comparatively, it seems to be a fairly safe place to be until June 1st of this year, when a tornado swept through Western Massachusetts extending from Westfield to Charlton (almost 50 miles).  It was like the tornadoes that you see on the news in the Midwest except the Midwest doesn't have trees like we do.  The devastation was extreme.

Fortunately, this is not my home.  We were very lucky, but the area near our church not so much.  The impact was unbelievable in width, length, and general impact.  Trees look like toothpicks sticking from the ground.  Areas that couldn't see the sky due to a canopy of trees are now bathed in sunlight and blanketed in the night sky.  Houses are covered in blue tarps, split in half, or town completely from their foundations. The cleanup will not be measured in days but more likely months and probably years.

The one amazing portion that I have been blessed to witness is the coming together of a community to help those in need.  I have worked all of last month at the tornado aide center.  The outpouring of support not just from locals but from those that came miles and miles just to help has been incredible.  One night, one of the people asked, "Do you make all this food?  It is delicious."  While I may have wanted to take credit, I was able to say that no, all the food was donated.  We had not had to make anything.

When people wonder if there are still good people on this earth, I know without a doubt that the answer to this question is a resounding, "Yes."  It is a shame sometimes that it takes devastating emergencies to bring us all together, but you can surely know that in a time of need, we can and will come together.  This is one of the great things about people in general and specifically about the USA.  As different as we all are, we truly are all United.

God Bless the USA!  Happy Independence Day!

No comments: