This might be a big rambling post, but I do hope that it brings attention to Albany, Georgia.
You probably know I am from South Georgia, born and raised. I moved to Atlanta to go to college and now call up here home. That doesn't mean I am not proud of where I am from and this post will hopefully explain that pride to you.
Let me tell you this, the "bad part" of Albany.
Albany is not the best city.
It was even reported to be one of the poorest cities in the nation a few years ago.
I can't lie, many people that live in Albany can't wait to get out and say they will never return.
Some leave and some never look back, some leave, only to return and others will never leave.
I go back to visit family.
There are things to do, so it isn't "that bad" as people make it out to be.
Cheehaw Park, Flint River Aquarium, WWE and the Harlem Globetrotters have even came before,
They have filmed movies down there like Fire Proof and Courageous and even Odd Life of Timothy Green from Disney! Once you leave, you do start to appreciate all that is back there, you just take it for granted growing up, but looking back... you see it.
Now, on to the reason I want to bring attention to Albany.
Last Monday, January 2nd, 2017, Broxton was out of school. We loaded up to head down to visit family before school started back. We were in the driveway and I decided against it. We stayed home. That night, about 2 am, I woke up and for some reason, I got on facebook. It was weird. A bad storm had just hit in Albany and people were posting checking on one another and commenting about loss of power and what not. I called my parents to make sure they were okay (they were) and I kept on looking. Seemed that a tornado had touched down! God was surely watching over us, as we were supposed to be down there!
The next morning, I called to check on my parents again... Seemed it was SO MUCH worse than what I was originally seeing on facebook. Then again, it was the middle of the night and people were trying to be safe, not go patrolling the streets in the dark. I even heard from one source that 9 tornadoes touched down, I don't know if that is true or not, but seeing the destruction, I can see it being true.
My dad's office is about 10-15 minutes from their house. That is giving PLENTY of time. Well, it took him over 2 hours to get there to check on it due to all of the devastation. Trees down, power lines down, everywhere! Luckily, his office suffered no damage, except loss of power. Here we are over a week later and still no power, but at least they are all safe.
I called to check on my Mema (she lives in assisted living) she was fine, they had to have everyone seek safety in their bathrooms during the storm, but they are okay.
I called to check on my grandmama (She is in a nursing home) I could never get through. My dad said they are all fine, but they lost power and are living off of generators right now.
Now, on to the city.
You know, "one of the poorest cities in the nation."
Albany, Georgia might not have much as far as money... but boy do they make up for it with love and support for one another.
The next morning when the sun came up and everyone could see the destruction, people began to help. They didn't wait on the companies to come out. They turned to neighbors.
People turned to facebook live to give updates. Facebook became a message board for those in need.
People out with chainsaws trying to help one another.
Local food places cooking food and strangers loading up taking it out to those that were stuck in homes. car dealerships driving around giving out food and water. Companies making meals and providing gas cards/ chainsaw oil to those volunteering.
I put a post up asking for names of places that had helped, as they would love the support of the community once Albany is back up and going. I have never been MORE PROUD to call Albany my hometown as I have been after this. I have learned of new companies to show love to.
Cold weather was coming in, they opened up shelters to allow those with no power to come and be together, in the warm, with hot food. Showers for those that needed them. Laundry places allowing use of their machines and free detergent to help. I believe that this was BEFORE anyone from the government came in to help. They didn't wait around, they pulled together.
One thing Albany has been known for is our tree covered streets. They are beautiful and as I mentioned, Odd Life of Timothy Green was filmed here. Well, the tornadoes ripped through and destroyed them. I have not been down yet, I just don't know if I am ready for it. That has always been such a beautiful sight.
We have been fortunate that churches are plentiful down there and all churches have been there helping where they can. Also, Samaritans Purse has been down there and are volunteering to help out.
Here are a few video's for you to see:
It is heartbreaking, all of the damage. You want to know what else is so sad? The fact that the news is not really covering any of it. I have had family and friends (even in Georgia) that had no clue it was like this. They thought it was just a small storm. I just wonder why we can't get any news coverage for Albany.
I posted this for one thing... Asking you to pray for my hometown. The people and the city. They need it. I am proud to call this my hometown and I love seeing the support they are all showing during this time!