Archived Story

Helping with tornado relief changed my life

Published 7:59am Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On April 28 I was sitting on the porch at the Phil Campbell Community Center waiting for my husband as he cut trees off the entrance road and parking lot. A large van pulled up and was full to capacity with donations for Phil Campbell. The window was broken out so one of the men climbed in and opened the door. My daughter and I began to separate items. I didn’t know at the time that I was entering into an adventure that wouldn’t end until Sept. 1.

The donations continued to come in faster and faster. More and more volunteers came as we began to prepare offering help to the storm victims. The first few weeks were emotion filled. I would go out the back door and cry for a few minutes and then come back in and get back to work. The amount of help Phil Campbell received so quickly was overwhelming, as well as hearing the stories of survival as each victim came in for assistance.

The initial rush wore off and we were left with a group of very dedicated and caring volunteers. As time passed we had a group that we knew would be there every day and we soon became just like a family.

I would like to thank each and every person that came and volunteered at the Disaster Relief Center in Phil Campbell. Thank you for the time you put in to help complete strangers. To every person that sent the smallest pack of dental floss, to the ones that sent the largest items thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Our service would not have been available without the donations. I know that each storm victim that received assistance needed it greatly.

To each and every storm victim I pray God will give you peace in your heart and that He will restore your homes. He has truly been present through this whole experience.

I still cannot believe the devastation my eyes have seen, but I do know this, God put me on that porch for a reason. He put me there for a purpose and I am so thankful. In giving my service I have received a million blessings. I met people that I never would have met otherwise, and I have made friends that I will cherish for a lifetime.

I am a graduate of Russellville High School; that makes me a Tiger to the core, but I hope when faced with any problem the rest of my life that I will face the challenge, be strong and fight like a Bobcat! I love you all!

Beth A. Rhea, District Administrative Coordinator Franklin County SWCD

Editor's Picks