Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuscaloosa Tornado - Day 2

First day to actually get to work and see first hand the damage done by the tornado. We went to Phillip's house and just went to town in the backyard tearing out trees that had fallen. Phillip lives in a part of the city known as Forest Lake. However, there are very few trees left standing. We worked in the backyard the entire day and made great progress despite having chain saws that only worked half the time and were stuck the other half. Thank goodness for Jonathan and his hatchet.

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We were hoping to do some work on Phil's grandparent's home that is just a couple houses up the road. Unfortunately, FEMA declared it destroyed. Therefore, it will completely bulldozed and they will have to rebuild their home on the same lot. In fact, Phillip's mom Perry informed me that probably all the houses on their block, besides their own, will have to be bulldozed. The damage isn't widespread, but took a path straight through town. You can follow the line of the tornado very easily. The weirdest part is driving around; everything is normal. Then 50 feet later you are in an area that is completely leveled. At the end of the day, Perry showed me around town to the other neighborhoods that were effected by the tornado. Specifically, Alberta City and Holt. These areas were way worse then Phillip's neighborhood.

We got back to the church and showered up and then had dinner. Some volunteers from First United Methodist served up a great Italian meal. We all ate a bit too much. Soon after we crashed from being a little too ambitious the first day in the 93-95 degree heat (record high). One of the coolest aspects of the trip is having Dr. Troyer and Kulaga there. It is truly a unique experience have people in such high positions at a University caring so much about their students. Dr. Troyer is the man on the chainsaw. I think we are all going to be feeling it tomorrow.

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