I’m sure you’ve been following the news reports regarding the terrible tornados that struck the Midwest this week. You’ve probably seen images of the twisters and the destruction those 175 mph winds wrought. I bet you saw the flattened homes, broken trees, power lines down.
I grew up in Jeffersonville Indiana, just down the road from Henryville and Marysville. I can guarantee you every church still standing is open to shelter those who need it, but there won't be so awful many. Most folks still have families who have been born, raised, and lived their whole lives in the same spot.
The people who have lost their homes will be staying with relatives for the most part, until they have the opportunity to rebuild. Those that don’t have family will have friends to offer resources, and I am certain no one will be cold or hungry.
The Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, spoke a phrase that is so appropriate for my Midwestern friends and family: “There are no strangers here; Only friends I have not met.”
Those are my origins and the ideals that guide me. From my immigrant grandparents on my father’s side of the family, who came here from Italy, I have the desire to share, to feed, to nurture. From my mother’s side, there is the stoic German ancestry who would work endlessly, tirelessly to raise their families and make do in the most difficult circumstances.
While my heritage shapes me in countless ways, it is the small town in Indiana that wove the strongest fabric that makes me who I am.
When I heard about the swath of tornados, it made me wonder, “What would life be like if similar tragedy struck here?” The damages would undoubtedly be worse, for Marysville only had a population of a little over 1900 persons. Henryville had right around the same number of people living there. Can you imagine what it would be like for Prince William County with more than 402,000 people?
What would we do? Would we all pitch in, open our doors, share our food and clothing? Would we donate blood, give cash, help clear away the ruins? Would we help our family, our friends, and the “friends we have not met?”
I want to remind you of the recent flooding at Holly Acres. The first response was amazing, but we were ill prepared for the influx of donations and volunteers. Months after the flood, some people still have no permanent home. Months after the flood, there is still debris to be removed from Marumsco Creek. (You can work with us on March 17 to help remove the household items, propane tanks, and other assorted items that washed into the creek. Visit our events and come volunteer.)
If any of these questions flit through your mind, you may want to make a plan. Contact Volunteer Prince William. They offer a wonderful training for emergency response.
God bless the hard working folks in Southern Indiana (and elsewhere.) I can promise you everyone is helping and sharing. There will be no looting and stealing and when things get cleaned up, they'll be helping their neighbors to rebuild.