Saturday, Jesse and I joined the Samaritan's Purse disaster relief
as volunteers at Garywood Assembly of God
in Hueytown, Alabama.
A Samaritan's Purse bus was stationed there
to receive any and all volunteers
who were willing to work
just a few hours in order
to relieve even a little bit of
stress from families in the Pleasant Grove
area who had lost everything.
We both arrived at the volunteer site
very nervous and unsure as to what
we were supposed to expect
from the organization or even do in the
We filled out the necessary paperwork
and were then given t-shirts and instructed to
attend the training session in the back area.
It was there that I realized that my Chacos
were probably not the best footwear to choose
for this effort, but hey, they worked.
There were several big groups of teams
that had volunteered and a couple two-three person
teams (including Jesse and myself). There was also
one lady, who had driven by herself from Atlanta,
just to see what she could do to help.
We were sent to a house that needed
debris cleared from their backyard.
And one or two trees had fallen
and needed to be cut and taken to the road.
I don't think we were helping
at this house for more than two hours,
but let me tell you that walking big buckets
of debris back and forth up and down hill
can be slightly taxing in the outrageous heat
that Alabama has to offer.
I won't lie. I got sick. Twice.
The team leader announced that we were pretty
much done with the site and asked if we would
like to go to another one...far, far worse.
Jesse was hesitant to let us go over there,
because I had gotten sick,
but I didn't want to make our ride
(three very gracious Auburn fans
from Oak Mountain) have to take us
back early, because they wanted to work a bit more.
It took about 20 minutes to go a few blocks
through the neighborhood,
because the destruction there was so great
that many roads were closed due to workers
clearing trees and other large debris.
Also, many of the road signs were gone
and the only way you knew what address
someone was is if they spray painted it on
their exterior walls or on a large wooden sign (if their house was completely gone.)
We finally made it to the site and it was a two-story house,
which was converted into a one-story by the tornado.
The roof was completely gone and walls were missing.
The chimney had detached and bricks were strewn about the property.
We were instructed to collect the debris and take it to the road
for the service workers to pick up.
This didn't seem as back-breaking as the first job,
especially since we couldn't carry too many objects at
a time, because of the lack of wheelbarrows and buckets.
We did have one thing though.
Not the animal, the miniaturized front-end loader
that could pick up larger objects...
like huge tree pieces and roof sections.
Anywho, we finished as much as we could
before heading back to the main site
and said goodbye to our new Aub buddies.
We then proceeded to head to dinner,
because we had eaten peanut butter crackers for
lunch and needed some serious nourishment.
Five Guys and Fries to the rescue.
To be continued.