The images of destruction from the record-setting number of tornados that blew through the Midwest and Southeast this past week are hard to fathom, and heart-wrenching.
More than three dozen people were killed in states from Illinois to Virginia, and through Alabama and Georgia. As the worst of the storm speared Friday evening through west Georgia, the line of the approaching front spanned all the way into our community.
As we’ve grown to be almost too comfortably accustomed, Columbia County’s Emergency and Operations Division Director Pam Tucker kept everyone in the county informed about the storm’s progress. By the time it had passed, we had received mostly heavy rain and random lightning strikes – with none of the devastation from all those tornados.
We can breathe a sigh of relief. But we can also celebrate our good fortune by reaching out to others who weren’t so lucky.
Jennifer Pennington, executive director of the American Red Cross of Augusta, points out that the national agency as always took immediate action when the storms moved through. The Red Cross is operating relief efforts across nearly a dozen states, operating or supporting 25 shelters and sending emergency food trucks to distribute meals.
In addition, Red Cross mental health workers are helping people in the affected areas cope with their tremendous losses, while health care workers help replace things such as lost medications and eyeglasses.
It’s critically important work, and they can’t do it alone.
To offer immediate help, anyone can text “REDCROSS” to 90999. Doing so will add a $10 charge to your bill (most carriers participate) or make a deduction from prepaid accounts. The amount is small, but with many making the effort, the money adds up to serious help. To make larger donations, information is available at www.redcross.org.
We escaped the destruction this time around; next time it might be us who needs their assistance.