(If this is a repeat for any of you, sorry!)
So, the tornadoes hit on January 2nd and there was NO coverage, minus the local news. Lucky for the locals, someone immediately started a Facebook page for people to check in and say if they needed things. It was bad. The tree covered streets that we were known for were hit and people said it was like a bomb went off. The community reached out to one another and really was "neighbor helping neighbor." It was a blessing that there were no casualties and sadly, I think that is what kept the news from reporting on how bad they were hit down there. I tried to do what I could from here, but in the grand scheme of things, it wasn't much. Then... Tragedy hit again. January 22nd. I hate to report that this time, there were casualties and it was much worse this time. Again, Facebook was the lifeline to all and it really has been a blessing.
Messages like " Need water" with an address posted. To "have a chainsaw, where do you need me?" It was amazing the love and support to each other! To read through the posts, it made you thankful for one another and I will admit, I cried tears of thankfulness. Thankful for the love shown, thankful for the safety of my family and friends. Thankful for Facebook being there with the great admins to run that site when needed most.
I reached out to friends up here in Atlanta to see if anyone was able to donate, I was headed home to try and help out. The response was amazing. Diapers, clothes, food, my friends gave what they could. Home Depot even gave me a gift card to help out with supplies. I loaded up the bed of a truck with all of the donations we received. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw where I posted how thankful I was for my friends!
I will be the first to say that I was NOT prepared for what I saw. Yes, you see pictures on the news and see video, but to ride through it... Wow. There are no words to describe it. I had to pull over to try and gain composure, as it really breaks your heart to see it. Not to mention, it was the area that was hit on January 2nd, so they had time to start cleaning things up.
The trees on the side of the road, stacked, waiting to be picked up. The "landing" spot for all of the trees were in 2 locations (that I saw) and it appeared to be as long as a football field, if not longer... and higher than a building. It was insane.
Below are a few photos I took to try and show the damage.
The alley behind my dads office. His office was not hit in either storm, thank the Lord, but the winds were pretty powerful there.
Several houses just covered with tarps and this was from the first storm.
Another, from the first storm.
I believe this was from the second storm.
One of the many "root balls" scattered through out the city. Trying to dispose of them has been a big deal, as they are so big!
I am still amazed by this. This whole entire area was destroyed, but that REALLY OLD water tower is still there.
This house has been all over the news. It was moved several feet and as you can see, the roof is gone. (The roof was across the street, in pieces, as was the rest of the house!)
Another picture of the house.Through it all though, there has been hope. The city has looked past race and gender and has simply seen someone in need. I mean, it is SOUTH GEORGIA, so that should say plenty right there. This last storm finally got coverage. Tide Loads of Hope showed up and was set up offering free laundry care. Each family could drop off their clothes and then Tide would wash, dry and fold them for the family in need. They would return to pick up there clothes in nice reusable bags, freshly laundered and then could step to the truck beside it to pick up a few basic needs such as toilet paper and paper towels, all donated for FREE. (Keep that in mind next time you are out shopping!)
Tide loads of hope with Matthew 25 ministries arrived
The local fire station set up a command center and was running a donation drop off location. Those affected could come get supplies and the firefighters would help them load them up.
An eye opening experience, to say the least.
Cars, homes, everything people had, has been lost...
Well, MOST things were lost... but not all.
Broxton was quick to point out, "Mama, look! Through all of the bad stuff, the flag is still waving strong!" Big thoughts from a little boy... The best thing? He was right. Through it all, the flag was there. Waving, reminding us ALL that we are one. One for each other, there to help when needed
If you look to the left, you can see it. The cross. Carved out from a stump of a tree that needed to go. A simple reminder to all that HE is working through us all. He is there. He brought neighbors helping neighbors and a reminded that there is HOPE. Samaritans Purse has been moving mountains, literally and figuratively this past month and a half. They have helped in the clean up of debris, but also they have been out witnessing and bringing lost ones to Christ. As I said, there is HOPE.
As for those gorgeous trees that once lined our streets?
They aren't like they were in the past, but I think its a sign that they will come back. As beautiful as they once were!