HUNTSVILLE, Ala. 4 May 2011 (ACNS) - While most of America seemed to be swooning over the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton and cheering the death of Osama bin Laden, most Alabamians were picking up the pieces after what was perhaps the worst tornado outbreak in history. As many as 150 or more tornadoes ripped through Alabama on the 27th of April. Some of these reached strength of EF-5, the highest category, with winds over 200 mph. Many people lost their homes. There were many deaths. All of North Alabama was left without power for days, and some without telephone. The devastation was immense.
What is left of a home in one of the worst hit areas.
Cardinal Johnson, Patriarch of the Anglican Rite Roman Catholic Church, was present throughout the day of storms, and while he escaped damage and injury, it brought back memories of his own experience as a tornado survivor more than twenty years ago. "We had an EF-5 tornado pass right over our house, imploding the windows and causing major damage," he said. "It picked up our dog, who survived with only minimal injury. It flattened several of the houses behind us down to the foundation. When I toured some of the most affected areas, it brought back many memories."
|A neighborhood ravaged by a tornado.|
Even in the worst of time, the human spirit has a tendency to shine through. Well before FEMA started operations, Alabamians took care of the situation. The government, church and civic groups, and scores of volunteers turned out immediately to help out. Neighbors helped neighbors.
Cardinal Johnson arrives at a the scene
of destruction from an EF-5 tornado.
The volunteer spirit is immense. People volunteered their time and resources to use their skills to help those in need. Anglican Rite Catholics, operating largely through the Church's humanitarian wing, the Anglo-Catholic Relief Service, provided help in the affected areas through clean-up, information services, assistance for medical responders, food delivery, and more. Anglican Rite Catholic volunteers worked alongside those from other churches and faith based and civic organizations, as well as people who just walked into the volunteer coordination center asking what they could do to help.
The tornado and the resulting power outage left many with food and other supplies, even if their homes did not sustain any damage. Anglican Rite Catholics, including Cardinal Johnson, joined local volunteers at a faith-based organization in distributing food all over North Alabama.
|Cardinal Johnson delivers food to those left in need|
after the tornado, one of many volunteers helping out.
Relief workers have come from all over the country, even as far away as Los Angeles. Those who wish to contribute financially may consider a donation to the American Red Cross, marked for the tornado disaster fund. Much is needed to achieve a recovery, not the least of which is prayer. In time, the buildings will be rebuilt and the area cleaned, and life will return to normal. The memories and the emotions, however, will always remain.