CI Storm Reports: Tom Serio in Alabama
Mon, 05/02/2011 - 11:19am
We reached out to members of the Continuity Insights family in areas affected by yesterday's storms, to check that they are okay and to ask about conditions on the ground. The third report comes from Tom Serio in Alabama:
|It’s late Sunday night, May 1 and I’m sitting in a hotel in Birmingham, AL. I’m responding with the Verizon Wireless Crisis Response Team to the tornado disaster that occurred this past Wednesday, from Mississippi to Kentucky and further.|
Having supported our team throughout hard hit areas of Alabama and Mississippi, I can’t tell you how bad the situation is here for those that have been impacted. Whole communities have been wiped out. Towns line Hackleburg, AL and Smithville, MS no longer stands. Neighborhoods have been fractured. Over 340 people have been lost.
Amongst the destruction and dire situation is something stronger; the human spirit. People here in the heart of the Bible Belt have faith. People here give thanks while standing in the ruins of their homes. People here are resilient. And people, total strangers from near and far, have come to help their fellow human beings with rummaging through the debris fields, picking up whatever they could find of their shattered lives. Strangers offer a cold bottle of water on a hot day. Strangers offer food. Strangers offer a shoulder to lean on. Strangers offer a smile.
This is a heart-wrenching situation. I have not seen this level or degree of destruction before, from hurricanes or wildfires. Mother Nature has unleashed her fury on towns like Huntsville, Cullman, Pleasant Grove, Toney, Tuscaloosa, parts of Birmingham and many other towns and cities in Alabama and surrounding states like we have never seen before on this magnitude. See the photos that are attached. A small sampling of the situation these folks are dealing with. Rebuilding will take years.
I ask that you keep these people in your thoughts and prayers. Pray for the responders who need to be as strong to deal with what they are facing. Offer anything you can. If asked to donate a dollar to the cause, give them two. Donate money, diapers, and new clothes, anything that will ease the pain for those that went through so much.
There are hundreds of stories here, of survival, of thanks, of pain. One couple invited me into their home, showing that the tornado’s winds ran through the house, blowing out the entire side wall of the two story home, but sparing their daughter’s bedroom, where she was hiding. One young fellow was retrieving anything he could from his apartment that was literally blown off the foundation and destroyed. I offered him and his helpers a case of water. He hugged me. Damn!
Corporate America is responding financially and with in-kind donations. Thank those that have.
We need to be ready for anything. Be prepared not only at your business but at home with your families. Never say never. Disasters happen anytime, anywhere.
Reach out and help your fellow American, fellow human. They can really use it now.