Saturday, March 03, 2007

Hope amid the destruction

It happened again. Total silence. Much like the "oh my God" moment that happened in October 2005 when we crossed into the destruction zone along the coast. Today it happened on foot. We were walking into the the zone around the High School where the tornado hit.

Eight people lost their lives. The majority of whom were high school kids in the assumed safety of their school.

Seeing the destruction, I am surprised more didn't die.

Houses destroyed. Roofs blown completely off. Trees on top of roofs. Wires on the ground. Large pieces of sheet metal stuck in trees 50 feet up. Grave stones flipped over. Scores of cars with windows exploded.

National Guard troops armed with M-16s and police officers on every corner.

And into this maelstrom came a small army of 47 BonaResponds volunteers adorned in their brown shirts. Walking with mouths agape. Seeing the destruction. Seeing the damage. And then, the volunteers got to work. No, we could not do everything but we could do something. We could help haul debris, help cut trees, help pick up branches, and, most importantly, to help encourage and to help give hope.

And so we did.

As a personal aside, I have to admit that in the weeks leading up to this trip, there were days when I questioned whether the headaches, late night emails, and constant phone calls were worth it. Today I was reminded that it is. It most definitely is.


heather said...

no matter how small the group, every hand and heart helps more than you will ever know. you were given this life for a purpose and you are doing a great job! now your task is to keep everyone encouraged volunteers and community members and to keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

I have just read everything, looked at all the
pictures, and then checked out the AP coverage of
Bush's trip on p 6 of the Bflo News. The headline in the AP article reads,
"Bush buoys victims of tornado-ravaged South" . .
.Maybe I'm being cynical, but I think those
brown-shirted Bona kids buoyed the spirits of a lot
more people when they simply pitched in and went to
work. His photo-ops on TV were of well-dressed kids,
hand-picked and
hugged by the President. Yours are of tired,
brown-shirted college kids cutting and hauling and at
the same time, totally in awe of the destruction. .
.and then there are the smiles as they work and cut
and haul. Which is more impressive?

The pictures are an essay as well. From scenes of
terrible destruction to the stark beauty of black
branches silhouetted against a blue speckled sky, from
the tossed cars and tombstones to the placid little
praying cherub, the contrasts are powerful. And then
there are the bron-shirted Bona kids. . .No matter
what some people say about college kids, these have to
be the poster students. Thank-you BonaResponds.