Today's post comes from Lynne, one of those who volunteered on the ground in Stonybrook. This post picks up where last week's post on the Tornado Follow-up in Stony Brook left off.
We'd like to again thank our friends at Notes from a Mom in Chapel Hill, the Stir Crazy Moms of Durham, and Tarheel Takeout, for helping to spread the word about disaster relief related to NC's tornado outbreak in April 2011.
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After, when most others have forgotten, I wondered what happened. So often we donate immediately, then go on with our lives in our microcosm of family and close friends. I couldn’t do that. Life didn’t throw a water pipe burst at me two years ago to have me walk away now. I remembered how I felt and how much I relied on friends and my community for guidance, housing, and – let’s face it – money. Most residents in Stony Brook didn’t have insurance when they lost everything. Try telling that to a child, that their bed and their favorite toys are no more. I remember my two-year-old refusing to sleep in his crib in our new apartment for 3 weeks because he wanted to go “home”.
So continues my desire to aid the Stony Brook families, to hasten their return to normalcy whether at Stony Brook or another place where they create a new normal. There are still many families receiving aid, although the mobile home community looks better than it did before. A few sites sit empty, a reminder of the tragedy. But the fall leaves on the remaining trees paint a multi-hued picture of home for current residents.
(CIR - Centro Internacional de Raleigh - deserves complete credit for helping me reconnect and tell the following story). See more about this fabulous, compassionate organization here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC_giQI3YsM
One particular family has stayed with Stony Brook and kept positive and faithful through their ups and downs. The home of J, C, and their two-month-old has taken repeated nature-related beatings in the past 7 months. They are fixing their home for the third time. First, during the tornadoes they had severe roof damage. They live behind the area where those precious children died. Second, after Hurricane Irene in August, a branch pierced the roof and split the trailer, reaching all the way to the floor. Most recently, during a cold morning awake early with a newborn, a fire ignited underneath their home in its ductwork. The smoke and fire damaged the HVAC system, floor, external parts, and walls. They are repairing bit by bit (without insurance) while also paying rent on the land, renting another mobile home, and saving for a new HVAC system and the inspections that will make their home livable again. They invited me into their home, proud of their work but aware that there are still huge hurdles to undertake. This family works hard and will make it, because they have done so before. But it makes this writer wonder how much hardship one family can be dealt.
I was only one volunteer, and I am still only one. I had the privilege of connecting to this blog (Discovering the Southern Part of Heaven) and my friend Katy at her blog, Stir Crazy Moms, to help spread the word. These blogs and the Durham Mothers Club collected donations, clothes, and money and funneled volunteers to the site. So begins my friendship with this blog’s author (KV) in fact, which I believe happened for reasons difficult for my earthly brain to Brook because we had one goal. So please, if this speech does nothing else, let it connect you with what’s important.
From my commitment to Stony Brook has come new friends and a new world of understanding of what it means to truly help someone. I know that some groups will be the victim’s voice when his or hers isn’t loud enough. I take comfort in that as I hug my family tonight. Life throws unpredictable events at us, and I choose to embrace them and see the good in every situation, because I know that I am blessed. I truly feel connected to each and every person that helped in Stony ant in life, and let it make a difference in someone else’s life.
If you would like to help the family mentioned above or any of the other families still recovering at Stony Brook North Mobile Home Park, you can reach me at email@example.com. I’d love your feedback via the comments section, and please forgive me for this article’s length!
any photos and names included were taken and printed with permission.