I can't believe it's been a year.
It's been a year since I sat watching this tornado rip my hometown apart, not knowing if it was coming for me. There were several minutes that we sat in our hallway, covered in couch cushions, watching this on our laptop with absolutely no clue if this was it for us. I can't describe the helpless feeling, not only for us, but not knowing if it was going to hit our family and friends.
We were lucky. We live several miles away from the path. But we had many friends, students, customers, and acquaintances that weren't so lucky.
I've written my story of that day before. I experienced emotions and saw things that day that I will absolutely never forget. There were things that gave me nightmares for weeks, and absolutely shaped everything about the next month of my life. Of everybody that lives in this city's life.
And here we are, one year later, and the recovery is still happening. Some business have reopened...most have not. Honestly, if you drove through Tuscaloosa right now and didn't know what it looked like before, most of it just looks like open fields now. But those open fields used to contain businesses, homes, and memories that can never be replaced.
If you feel led to help the continuing recovery, I would encourage you to donate to either the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce Disaster Relief Fund or the Tuscaloosa City Schools Tornado Relief Fund. I work for the Tuscaloosa City Schools, and one of the schools that was destroyed actually moved into my schools' building afterwards, so this cause is near and dear to me. Both of these funds are local, and ensure that the donations go directly to those that need the help.
It's going to take a long, long time for the damage of that day to go away...and even then you can't bring back those lives or heal some hearts. But I think I speak on behalf of everyone in this city when I say thank you for the support and the outpouring of love we've seen from all over the world in the past year.