Friday, February 15, 2008

The Red Hot News

The following is an article written by the daughter one of my best friends . My friend Mike Heflin said that the article that was published in "The Red Hot News", the student newspaper of Lawrence County (Alabama) High School was actually Rachel's rough draft. There was a mix-up and they published the wrong file. I told Mike that she did a fine job anyway, but especially with it being a rough draft. He said that I could share it here.

Devastation Close to Home

By Kelsey Terry, Lauren Gibson, Rachel Heflin, and Heather Key

Scattered debris, splintered trees, missing roofs, and destroyed homes have become many Lawrence County residents’ reality. Dozens of lives were changed forever in the early hours of February 6, 2007. Four are dead and over 30 are injured. Many more are left without homes. The span of destruction is possibly the worst our county has faced in over three decades. Much of the area is barely recognizable.

In riding through the southern region of Lawrence County, the severity of the natural disaster became clearly evident to us all. These roads that were once lined with houses and trees are now completely desolate. Many houses are completely gone, leaving only rubbish scattered on the ground. Many of the houses that are left have trees uprooted and fallen on their land. Although many residents lost everything, many others were very fortunate. It is amazing to see the kind of damage a tornado can cause. It is also very encouraging to see the people of our community and our county pull together to comfort and offer relief to these families who have lost everything.

While driving through Fairfield, we met Austin Jenkins, Forrest Kelsoe, and Michael Brooks from LCHS, who were helping clean up debris around a fellow student’s house. This student was Garrett Johnson, and when asked how he felt about his friends taking time out of their day to come lend a hand to him and his family, he said they were very grateful for the help and support from friends and the community. Forrest, Austin, and Michael agreed that the experience had been a very humbling time for them and they were happy to be able to contribute in some way. When they were asked, “What can the community do to help?” they were quick to respond, “We need more workers.” Some expressed the desire for less onlookers and sightseers and more people willing to help.

Immediately upon return to school Thursday, LCHS students began organizing relief efforts. Club officers from various organizations met to make plans. Donations of cleaning supplies and money began pouring in. This past Saturday, many students from our school met at 9:00 a.m. on County Road 186 (where several LCHS students’ homes were damaged) to help with clean up and repair. A benefit concert was held on Tuesday February 12 at LCHS to raise money for disaster relief.

Ultimately, Lawrence County, and surrounding counties have put forth tremendous effort to assist victims of this horrible tornado. We must continue to join together and care for those who are suffering. Many items are still needed such as toiletries, cleaning supplies, and garbage bags. Further details can be obtained from Mrs. Martin, Mrs. Blankenship, the Salvation Army, or the Red Cross.

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