My grandmother’s little trailer park in Petal, Mississippi was hit by an EF4 tornado almost two weeks ago.
|This trailer was two doors down from my grandmother’s||.|
The morning of the day it hit, she woke up very sick with vertigo and laid in bed all day unable to get up because she was so nauseated. Later that evening, she was listening to her weather radio and she heard the tornado warning, but she couldn’t get out of bed because she was so dizzy.
So she prayed.
And then she heard things begin to hit her trailer and she sensed a sudden change in the pressure of the air all around her, but she kept praying.
And then it stopped.
And when it was through, there was destruction and devastation all around her. But her little home, although badly damaged, was still standing and she was unharmed from the storm.
And on the first Saturday after the tornado, some of our family went over to Petal to pack up her belongings. The drive through the city just took our breath away. I really wish I had brought my camera, but all I had was my iPhone. (Here are some pictures, though.)
What really touched me were the hundreds of volunteers that I saw everywhere. I get a lump in my throat when I think about driving into that trailer park and being greeted by people who asked “What can we do to help you?” So many men, women, and children pulled together from the Hattiesburg, Petal, and surrounding areas.
There were a group of five or six men from my grandmother’s church who showed up bright and early on Saturday morning and worked all day long to move all of her big furniture into storage.
They moved a piano, y’all. A piano.
And about a dozen other pieces of heavy furniture. I don’t know what we would have done without them.
And then there were a couple of very nice ladies who helped us pack up her kitchen items. And a group of teenage girls. And there was another group of kids giving out snack bags and bottled water. And people delivering meals. And many, many more people everywhere picking up glass and limbs, and raking up debris, and putting tarps on roofs, and just doing what needed to be done.
(And I know that Petal was not the only city hit. Hattiesburg was also badly hit. And my alma mater, USM.)
I was completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness and generosity. And I wish I could thank everyone, but I don’t know who everyone is. But if you are reading this and you helped on that day or any day, thank you. It means more than you know that you jumped in like that.