On April 27th, 2011, multiple tornadoes struck areas of the south leaving a path of destruction over a hundred miles long. On April 28, a small group of people began to knock around the idea of how they could help, and within a few hours, the Tuscaloosa Rescue Mission was birthed.
We left early morning on May 2nd, taking a van and trailer full of donations and supplies, and a medical team to provide care to residents. We were loaded to the gills, and ready to roll.
By Tuesday morning, we were at Ground Zero. There simply are not adequate words to describe the destruction we were in the midst of. Homes were simply gone - just blown away. Trees were down everywhere and there were cars in the ones that were still standing. We saw a city bus in someone's living room (or what used to be their living room) and sheet metal from roofs hung up on standing power poles and trees like dirty laundry.
We spent the next several days going door to door providing basic medical care. We treated cuts and scrapes and burns as well as diabetes and high blood pressure, and even closed a head wound on a sidewalk. One patient (who will be discussed later) was suffering from internal bleeding, and had it not been for the persistence and experience of our team, would have gone unrecognized and unseen and she would have died. EMS took her to the hospital, only to find that if she'd gone a few more hours without treatment, she would have certainly died.
Working with the American Red Cross was the best move this team could have possibly made. Under the direction and leadership of Skip Warm, we were put on ERV's which allowed us to get into the middle of the worst hit areas, and provide care for the residents therein. We took care of patients, and jumped in to help serve meals as well. We made close friends in those foxholes, slipping into that easy place where the terror and devastation around you bonds you more quickly to one another than years of friendship.
Follow the blog for new posts, for stories and testimonies about the people we connected with, and for the personal insights of those who were there for five days.