All of you surely know about the devastation caused by a huge tornado that tore through the southern Missouri town of Joplin last weekend. With my best friend, Jenn, her fiance and most of her family living in Joplin this disaster hit far to close to home for me.
I, not being one to watch the weather or any news much, started getting text messages and phone calls from friends and family members who were concerned about Jenn and if I had heard about her. I, of course, had no idea what was going on until these messages started coming in and then, needless to say, I got a little panicked. I didn’t hesitate picking up my phone to get in touch with Jenn and make sure all the ones I loved were safe. My comical reply was “Yup, safe on Scotts couch.”
As I have heard from a few in the area, Joplin, being in tornado ally, is used to its fair share of severe weather so not much was thought differently about these forecasts and warnings. Jenn was proceeding with her normal evening chilling on the couch, presumably working on wedding details as she gets married in less than two weeks. It wasn’t long, though that our texting back and forth was stopped short with a “Sarah, this is soooooo scary…”
With that text, my eyes teared up, my heart sank and I prayed harder than I have ever prayed in my life. I could feel the fear and reality in that text. I was able to keep texting Jenn as the storm passed without harming their home. And though 6 hours from the devastation, Jennifer has taken me through every step with her sending me images as they worked to check on all the family members and assess the damage. Images sent to me of severe flooding at her parents home, the roof ripped off her grandmother’s home and of course more images like those shown on every news station, of complete and utter devastation.
I, myself, have been but inches from tears throughout most of the days following the tornado. This hit far too close to home and imagining the loss of if my texts had not been answered brings tears to my eyes again as I type. My heart and soul reaches out to those who have lost loved ones in this tragedy. Property can be rebuilt but lives cannot be replaced.
In the wake of the tornado the American Red Cross issued a Red Alert for O Negative blood, meaning they had less than a day supply of this universal blood type. Many of you might have seen on facebook my listing of donation facilities to visit for those in Joplin, however I want to encourage all of us to do more. This is a disaster on our own soil… in our own backyards… effecting out neighbors and for many of us our family and loved ones.
I know we all have busy lives, but you can donate $10 to the American Red Cross simply by texting ‘redcross’ to 90999. It is such an easy and simple way to help your neighbors and an organization that does so much to help in the wake of any tragedy. Not that I think you should need further motivation or reward for this donation, but once you have donated I invite you to visit my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Decatur-IL/Sarah-Jane-Photography/181887343520 and post on my recent status update that you have donated. This will hopefully encourage more to do the same and I will be giving one lucky winner a $50 Portrait Gift!
I just learned of this MU T-Shirt sale to help Joplin also… http://mutigers.cbscollegestore.com/store_contents.cfm?store_id=51&partner_id=13968&dept_id=410&product_id=193994
Purchase a T-shirt or donate to Red Cross through the cell text and you qualify for the SJJP giveaway!
Please, don’t wait. Help now, when your neighbors need it most.