|Vilonia, AR - Carlo Allegri/Reuters|
As many of you know, I live in Little Rock, Arkansas.
When the storms hit, my phone started blowing up. Calls, texts, emails, and instant messages poured in Sunday night into Monday morning, and then into the afternoon and evening hours. Friends and readers from around the world popped in to check and make sure me, SS, and our family were safe.
We are safe.
We live about 20 minutes from the area that was hit, so it missed us.
So many others weren't as fortunate.
I'm a social worker by day, and a large portion of my assigned area is that which was devastated by the tornadoes on Sunday night - Ferndale, Mayflower, Vilonia, White County... my clients live in all of these areas. Many have called these communities home for fifty and sixty years.
Over the last couple of days, I've talked with so many people who have lost everything. Their homes. Their pets. Their friends, family, and neighbors. In the coming weeks, many of those who were injured and are sent to inpatient rehab to recuperate will undoubtedly be referred to me. This is what I do every day... I connect the elderly and disabled with the resources they need to remain in or return to their communities.
|Mayflower, AR - Kathryn Piotrowski/Reuters|
I don't even know where to begin doing that right now. I'm learning about disaster relief on the run. But I am learning, so I can teach my clients, too.
Seeing the damage left behind in our community has been heartbreaking. I can't even begin to express how overwhelming it is. Over 3,000 homes were damaged. A large portion of those are completely destroyed, uninhabitable. We lost fifteen people. Two of them were just little kids.
I checked in on the last of my clients today, and they are safe. I cannot even begin to express how relieving it was to cross that last name off the list today. To know that the people I care for - the ones I work with every day - are safe.
Sitting in my car after making that last contact today, I heard this song and cried like a baby.
And you guys have been amazing. The compassion you've shown my neighbors is humbling. Beautiful. Empowering. Inspiring. And something none of us will forget any time soon. This song demonstrates that compassion so beautifully. So I just wanted to share it with all of you. To take a minute to say thank you to everyone who has pulled together to help out, to lift spirits, and to lift up our community.
And to say thank you to all who purchased FADE or FALL in April. What I've earned from those sales will be going to the Red Cross to help my neighbors. I think it's only fitting.
For those who would like to help out, too, please consider making your own donation to the American Red Cross at http://redcross.org. They were on the ground almost immediately, and their trucks continue to pour through on their way to help not only those in our community, but to help those in communities in Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Florida, and Oklahoma - each of whom have suffered unimaginable losses in the last few days.
PS: Please forgive me for the ridiculous formatting of this post. I still don't know how to make Blogger knock it off with the white background and cooperate.
FALL– The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is now available at Amazon | Barnes and Noble | KOBO. FADE - The Ragnarök Prophesies: Book Two is available at: Amazon US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Books-a-Million.