On April 27th, over 100 tornadoes tore across Alabama. Although there were many communities close to us that were devastated on this day, Brian and I feel overwhelmingly blessed to have been spared. Our power went out at about 5:00 P.M., and when we woke up the next morning we began to hear reports that Madison County would not have electricity for 4-5 days. We drove around some on April 28th, but we did not want to be get in the way of the emergency teams that were trying to do their jobs. People were forced to drive 45-50 miles to get ice, gas, and groceries. Luckily, we had about a quarter of a tank of gas (enough to get us out of Northern Alabama), and we decided to head to Arkansas for a long weekend. When we got to my parent's house, we read and watched countless reports of the death and damage across the state. We knew it was bad. On our way to Arkansas, we saw trampolines in trees, cars in the middle of fields, and homes ripped from their foundations, but I don't think the magnitude of the destruction sunk in until today. I have been glued to our local news station, and my heart is completely broken.
I watched a story of Glen and Janice Riddle from Tanner, Alabama (not even 2 miles from Brian's bookstore). As a tornado plowed through their home, these grandparents laid on top of their 2 grand babies saving their lives, but lost their own in the process. Their son, whose children they saved, told the story of this ultimate sacrifice and how much he will miss his parents. There are hundreds of other stories very similar to this one. Over 250 people were killed in Alabama, and another 101 people died in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Georgia, Virginia and Louisiana during last week's storms. Some people have lost EVERYTHING, and desperately need assistance. I went to the this website to donate to the American Red Cross of Northern Alabama/Tennessee Valley Region. I heard a man on the news today say, "What we do NOW, defines who we are." Please take a moment to pray for the families all across the South who lost their homes and/or loved ones during this horrific storm. Also, you can visit the American Red Cross website and designate exactly where you want your money to go. I truly believe that every single prayer is heard and every single dollar counts.