Thursday, May 26, 2011

Joplin: Day 2 China? Seriously?

I can now mark off "Be interviewed by a television crew from China" from my Bucket List.

Oh, wait. Didn't have that one on there.

Too bad, because today, Dear Friends, it happened.

We'll get to that later.

Day #2 is supposed to begin at 6:30 a.m. for me when I have scheduled my alarm to ring. But, due to strange dorm noises and no heat in my room, I wake up at 5:30 a.m. Yay for me.

Bob and I head over to St. John's Hospital, to set up an Emergency Aid Station. This is a stationed site where we will distribute items to be used to assist in the disaster.

St. John's - Ground Zero for the tornado...

We have water, gloves, rakes, tarps, snacks, diapers, personal care items, coolers - and my favorite, Famous Amos cookies. Which, when I told people that I had baked them myself, they were more than eager to sample them.

We parked in this Vet Clinic's lot...they were so hospitable to us, as they cleaned out their building. We kept them stocked up in Famous Amos cookies...

Another view of my corner...

Along the way, I'm able to take some photos of some of the damage that Joplin has experienced, and it is truly heartbreaking.

St. John's Hospital in the background...this was our "corner" where our station was...

The day is spent passing out our items, and I kid you not when I say that we probably saw 50,000 cars go down our street today. The Command Center for Search and Rescue was at the end of our block - near St. John's - and I saw cars from almost every state in the Union go by, all determined to help.

I saw church groups, contractors, ambulance crews, cops, highway patrolmen, K9 crews, insurance adjustors, recovery teams, government officials, and residents...and lots and lots of volunteers, all here to help.

It was bumper-to-bumper traffic from 8:00 a.m. until we left at 5:00 creeping along at maybe 5 mph, at the most.

EVERY SINGLE CAR got something from me - even if they didn't want my "stuff", they'd get a smile, a wave, a "thank-you" for showing up to help - or a thumbs-up. Joplin is in MY state, and I wanted to thank EVERYONE for coming to Missouri to help out.

Along the way, there was lots and lots of media and film crews, including this crew who came all the way from China to do a story. Wild, huh?! I did my best to convey some good-old-fashioned Midwest hospitality - sending kudos all the way to China.

They not only interviewed me, they taught me how to say "Thank you" in Chinese. But I've already forgot. Oops.

Another thing that struck me was how people were trying to give ME stuff. Hey, I'm trying to give THEM stuff - and they're bringing me Domino's Pizza, or water, or BBQ ribs, or pulled pork sandwiches. We ate well today - as I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings - but man. Good thing I lifted 3 pallets of water, so I can burn off some calories.

Because that's the other thing we did all day. Lift. Carry. Move our inventory. Load more inventory (we had to call 3 times for a semi-truck to bring us more stuff - which had to be quickly moved from their truck to ours. Fun, I'm telling you.)

Every muscle in my body is killing me. My face is sunburnt and wind-burned. My lips are chapped. And I have a few more cuts and bruises that I didn't have when this day started. And I'm tired.


Look at the pay-out. I felt the love today from 50,000 people in Joplin.

When it's said and done, I feel good. And I have hope for the people here.

I'm back in my room at 10:15 p.m. Such is the day of a Volunteer. Long. Busy. Crazy. Hectic.

But oh-so-gratifying.



1 comment:

MAFW said...

Thank you for what you are doing!