|Bystanders look on at storm damage in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP / The Tuscaloosa News, Dusty Compton)|
So in case you haven't heard, the South was slammed by tornadoes yesterday. The first one I heard about actually occurred as I was out running early yesterday morning (yes, I know, I need to start checking the weather). Luckily my friend and I made it to back to my car just before the bottom fell out. I thought it was just a bad thunderstorm, but come to find out it was either a small tornado or intense straight line winds that severely damaged the community of Cahaba Heights, just a few miles away from where I was finishing up a 5 miler. Then as the day progressed I heard about the destruction of Cullman and later Tuscaloosa, and now I am learning about tornadoes in Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia.
So needless to say, today is just a little bit different.
Today I woke up and thanked God for my house and my amazing neighbors, The Coopers, who have a generator and not only let me stay with them for 3+ hours last night, but also fed me dinner and asked repeatedly if I wanted to stay the night with them and tried to send me home with food. Today I was reminded of the recent destruction in Japan and said a prayer for them. Today I looked carefully at my neighborhood for damage as I drove to work. Today I talked to the woman in the elevator and asked how her home was. Today I have checked in with almost all of my coworkers. I have talked to my mom and my brother. I have emailed my best friends in Bham to be sure they, their families and homes are okay. Today I woke up my friend Emily with a phone call to be sure that their home in Tuscaloosa had no damage. Today I have received texts and calls from friends across the country checking in on me. And now I am keeping a constant check on twitter and facebook to be sure that other extended friends and family in the area are in fact also okay.
And honestly, today I would rather be out there helping people clean up damage, handing out water and offering a hug to those who have experienced a loss that I know nothing about, than being here at work.
Here is a video of the biggest, gloomiest tornado I have ever seen swiping through Tuscaloosa and destroying parts of the community of my alma mater, the University of Alabama.
4-27-11 Tornado Tuscaloosa, Al from Crimson Tide Productions on Vimeo.
If you want to help, you can donate here to United Way, or you can text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or donate another amount here to the Red Cross, or you can sign up for volunteer work here through Hands On Birmingham. And of course, prayers are always accepted.