I didn't notice the smell until we stopped working. Our clothes were filthy and smelled "yucky". It was humbling to see the destruction. You would see one home completely destroyed and then another perfectly fine or with just some melted siding. My heart hurt to see homes and businesses gone, leaving only their owner's memories. People were grateful to be alive and safe, but uncertain what the future would hold. Would they rebuild or move elsewhere, seemed to be the common question.
After helping during a time of disaster, you really appreciate the simple things, like having a hot shower, clean clothes, and warm bed. This is what I reflected on Saturday morning while getting ready to work at Heartbeat Ministries.
Linda, a homeowner and survivor, shared how she woke to glass breaking. She ran out of the house with just her night gown and shoes. As she was running down the street, she lost a shoe but kept running. There was fire on both sides of her. She sustained 2nd degree burns on one arm and her foot from the hot pavement. She came upon a car that gave her ride, but a tree had fallen across the rode. Emergency personnel showed up and helped them over the tree. Her comment, "I've seen Hell and I don't want to go there again." We prayed with her and her husband, Dave. As a thank you, Dave gave each of us a 1929 Indian head silver dollar. To me, it is worth a million dollars from someone who has lost everything.
I am so proud to be a member of the Hermitage Hills Disaster Relief Team and my compliments to Jack Bolton, team lead, who was awesome to work along side in cold temperatures and nasty ash conditions.
Dianne Shell, Disaster Relief Volunteer
For information about how to serve with Disaster Relief, visit Hermitage Hills Disaster Relief. There you can sign up and someone from the team will contact you.