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Weather Channel Map of Tornado Outbreaks on April 28, 2011

I think this graphic explains a lot.  😦  Each tornado icon represents 100 to 200 mile an hour winds.  Tin Foil, Jim, Ric, Nonnie, John, Jean-Philippe, Frank, Al, Tim, and Don et al., thank you.  Your sites and comments were my peace-of-mind places while I fretted over my son who was 4 blocks away from the tornado’s debris field in downtown Birmingham.  You gave me non-weather related items to escape to as the local weather teams delivered the storm’s terrifying play-by-play.

Let me tell you all about my friend Ernie who was killed.  He was the sweetest man.  I loved teasing him about being a big flirt.  Nearly every time I saw him he had a beautiful woman on either side of him.  He’d be mortified when I’d tease because he was a very modest man.  He owned the realty franchise next to the grocery store where I shop.  I saw his business Thursday morning and wondered how he was.  Hours later I learned that he died in the tornado that hit Pleasant Grove.  My first thoughts after finding out included the immediate deficit of kindness in the world because he was no longer in it.  I feel lucky though that I had the chance to know him.

Thank you to everyone who reached out to me and my family to make sure we were okay.  We are.  Your caring helps un-numb.  We’re finding everyone in these parts knows someone affected by the devastation.

One more thing before I list ways to help out.  I was disheartened by comments around the web that amounted to–Alabama doesn’t deserve help because many of our politicians and voters are of the government-shrinking nut variety. So.  We’re no less American, and believe it or not, no less human.

Here are ways to help:

  • The American Red Cross has opened dozens of emergency shelters for families affected by the severe storms. You can donate online or by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. To quickly contribute10, you can text “REDCROSS” to 90999.
  • Feeding America recommends that people make financial contributions to local food banks, which will use the money to hand out food supplies to survivors. You can use the locator on the organization’s website to find food banks in disaster-affected communities.
  • Samaritan’s Purse is sending teams of volunteers to hard-hit areas in Alabama to offer assistance. Supporters can donate online to help the organization provide aid.
  • The Salvation Army has deployed mobile feeding units to tornado-affected communities to provide meals to people in need. You can designate your online donation go to “April 2011 Tornado Outbreak” relief. Funds can also be given over the phone by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY or texting “GIVE” to 80888 (for a10 donation).
  • Governor of Alabama Robert Bentley’s office is accepting donations for church and community relief efforts in the wake of the massive storms. Supporters can contribute by credit card or check.

Anyone who wants to help victims in Alabama has these options:

  • Salvation Army, 1601 Huntsville Road, Florence, drop-off location for water, non-perishable foods, monetary donations, baby supplies, including diapers, wipes, baby food, blankets, hand sanitizer.
  • Salvation Army thrift stores are collecting clothing. Donors should designate items for storm victims.
  • Franklin Pharmacy, 361 Mustang Drive, Russellville. People are asked to bring whatever they can but immediate needs are bottled water, canned food, sunscreen, basic toiletries, baby supplies.
  • Monetary donations may be mailed to the Salvation Army, P.O. Box 728, Florence, AL 35630.
  • Shoals Outdoor Sports, 1605 U.S. 72, Tuscumbia. Everything including diapers and toiletries, power tools such as chain saws and other emergency-related equipment.
  • Fleet Force, Russellville, accepting non-perishable food items and water.
  • Tharptown Dixie Youth League, collecting money, clothing, non-perishable foods. Donations will be taken at the Tharptown High School ball fields during baseball games Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. Collection boxes will be on site.

Additional sites for donations, food and water include:

  • Highland Park Church of Christ Woodward Avenue in Muscle Shoals
  • BestWay Rent To Own 2204 Woodward Avenue in Muscle Shoals or 384 Cox Creek Shopping Center in Florence
  • McDaniel Window & Door 300 E. Tennessee St. in Florence
  • Free Will Baptist Church 1303 Alabama 24 E in Red Bay
  • TVA Credit Union 303 E Dr. Hicks in Florence, 406 N Mall Ct. in Florence, 425 Cox Blvd. in Sheffield
  • All Regions bank locations
  • First Baptist Church in Russellville
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29 thoughts on “Loss

  1. You’re 100% right. Tornados are not political, they strike everybody. And so we must help anyone in need, whatever their beliefs are. You can make politics with a tornado, but it’s still gonna be a tornado…

  2. I was in awe, when i saw the pictures of the devastation the storms did, and decided to blog the link, and feel free to reblog it.

    My heart goes out to you, and the loss of your friend.

    Be well, Melissa

    • Thanks, Don. I inserted your link above. The aerial shots on Nightly News were pretty impressive, too–a brown slash through our plush green landscapes and forests.

  3. I’ve been in a half-cringe for the past few weeks, seeing the wild weather going through places where I know people, and unable to get there to help them. I wish I could be there for you, Melissa, to just sit and shoot the bull.
    I was so sorry to hear you lost your friend. I wish I had some fantastic words of healing, but the word well is rather dry.
    Take care, and if you need to talk, just holler.Be safe!

      • We’ll keep our fingers crossed for you. Hopefully this next round won’t be too bad, and this insane weather will calm down. And that Nonnie’s pipes don’t leak. 😉
        (Wow – that sounded RUDE. I meant the pipes in her house!)
        I’ll shut up now………

  4. i’m so sorry about Ernie. it sounds like he knew that life is too short and is to be lived to the fullest. may he rest in peace.

    i’m so relieved that you and the kids are okay, melissa. you are much loved around here.

    thanks for the links to the charities. i just had to shell out for a new water heater, but i’ll scrape something together to send. it’s time to put politics aside. people are people, and when they’re in need, you help.

    • Hi, BCM. My son’s in Tuscaloosa right now visiting a friend who’s apartment complex was splintered to nothing. Zach brought cases of water.

      Thank you for caring 🙂

  5. I hope you’re doing better, Melissa. You take care of yourself and yours. And I’ll be sure to say a prayer for Ernie, and all the folk who were killed or lost so much. You’re a wonderful person, and just as your life is richer for knowing Ernie, I’m sure he counted himself a very lucky person to know you – I know I’m eternally grateful for having stumbled upon you in the electronic wilderness.
    Godspeed, dear lady.

  6. Melissa,
    Sorry for your loss as we can tell that Ernie was special to you. Use those positive memories to keep your heart warm.

    Events like these are about humanity, not politics – thus it is up to us to care for one another. Thanks for the wonderful post.

  7. Having been born and raised in north Texas, I am all to familiar with the springtime ritual of the darkening sky, watching for menacing wall cloud, the building tension of being enveloped in darkness as the tornado sirens begin to wail and you always wonder: “will it be this time?” Was thinking about you today while watching the NBC coverage of those great people giving it their all in trying to cope with the diasaster. This is the worst I’ve seen since the giant twister destroyed half of Wichita Falls back in 1979. My condolences on the loss of your pal.

    • Thanks, Jerry. These storms were more like Plains tornadoes with no rain wrap. The video has been flooring. It was cool that Brian Williams came down to cover it. Hopefully, the recovery will continue to get a decent amount of screen time.

  8. So glad you and your family are all right, but so sorry about your friend. A very close member of my family is/was a freshman at UA (“was” because the spring semester was a force close) – we were terrified, but she was in a basement and is okay. At least, she’s okay physically. She’s pretty raw emotionally. I did think of you. Y’all are in our prayers up here.

  9. Hi Melissa!

    As long as we don’t lose high caliber/top-notch people like you, this world is better off. Happy belated Mother’s Day!

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