I am sure most of you have heard of the devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri. I watched the news with heartbreak. As sad as I was for those who lost so much, it seemed far away and a little unreal because I couldn't see the devastation in real life. Well, now I have. You see, we call our little house "The Triple P" and that stands for "The Parnell (our last name) Piedmont (our town) Plantation (makes our house sound bigger then the 1300 square feet it is). Our sweet small town...my real life Mayberry...the place I spend most of my days...where my pastor preaches while wearing cowboy boots...where there is no stoplight...where I talk with neighbors while parked at Sonic...where there are John Deere Tractors driving down every road every day...where our barber shop lets you get a cut now and pay later...where people still pull to the side of the road as a funeral procession passes...where our Sheriff wears a cowboy hat...where there is a field full of cows at the end of my street...where my husband and I choose to buy our first house because it was far enough away from the city to see the stars at night. Yes, my precious town and my wonderful neighbors are now on the national news because of our tragic position in the path of a killer tornado.
(This is the actual tornado crossing into Piedmont)We are blessed in Oklahoma to have the nations BEST meteorologists. The storm that produced the Piedmont tornado (as well as 6 others in our state at the same time) was on their radar 2 days before. Every local channel broke into regular programming at noon on Tuesday and never went off the air. There was nothing but weather on every channel. Each meteorologist gave a timeline of when each storm would arrive in each town in the storm's path. There were storm chasers all over our county and they relayed their video live to each station. As each tornado formed and its path was determined, sirens were sounded and as most Oklahomans know, that means get underground! I say all of that to say, our weathermen saved lives. There is NOBODY better at that job then these Oklahoman men.
After the news got around of who was most hurt by the storms, our community ran into action. Within 2 hours, our church became a command center. There were tons of people who showed up to help in any way they could. Within 24 hours, it was overflowing with donations of food, clothes, bath items, gift cards and even money. There were work crews dispersed across town to help people salvage what they could and help free storm shelters from debris so those safely inside could get out and start picking up the pieces. Now that we are 72 hours away from the event, the whole operation is a well oiled machine. There has been 24 hour activity in our community and I am in awe at how many people are willing to sacrifice vacation days, finances and free time to help their neighbors...even neighbors they did not know until today. This town has shown itself to be even more wonderful then I thought. God has blessed Piedmont with wonderful families who get knocked down but just as quickly get back up and dust themselves off again. God has also blessed Piedmont with people who don't think twice before helping their neighbor, no matter the sacrifice. Funny thing is, nobody sees it as a sacrifice. God Bless Piedmont.