Thursday, April 21, 2011

Resource Thursday: Tornado Victim Aid

Some of you have heard or read about the tornadoes that swept through Jacksonville, NC on Saturday night. Not only did they destroy a trailer park and apartment complex 1 mile from my house, but they also damaged about 100 houses on Terrawa Terrace, the Camp Lejeune base housing. Even though the base is responsible for the repair of the houses, families who lived there are temporarily living in hotels and shelters. Most are not able to claim any of their belongings because of the amount of glass and debris that is embedded in furniture, clothing, etc. One of my friends, whose house was only "slightly damaged," had to shop-vac the glass shards out of her yard so that it would actually be safe for their child to play!

The military and local community has been incredibly supportive of these displaced families. There are many ways we can help! The Red Cross, Salvation Army, and USO are all involved in taking collections and providing comfort to the victims. If you click on their pages to make a donation, be sure to designate the NC Tornado Victims as the recipient.

When I drive down my road, I can see the Salvation Army tents set up in the field across from what used to be the Holiday City trailer park. The Red Cross has set up a shelter in the Enon Baptist Church on Piney Green, and they are accepting donations of clothes, food, diapers, etc on site. The VFW Post 9133 on Piney Green is also accepting donations of clothing and household goods. The USO is working on Terrawa Terrace at the Community Center, and needs the following items urgently: Water, Disposable Cameras (for property damage photos), Food, Diapers, Baby Wipes, Baby Formula, Moving Supplies (boxes, tape, etc). Once families are able to move into new housing in the next few weeks, there will be a need for household goods, furniture, and even school supplies, so if you have access to these supplies, please consider organizing a donation. These families will be hurting and in need for a LONG time! Please consider helping any way you can!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

He's almost home...

My husband comes home TONIGHT after being away at training for the past month! I am SO glad. It has been exhausting, and I am ready to have our family complete once again! I realize that 1 month is nothing compared to a deployment, especially since I have some friends dealing with year-long deployments. But sometimes these training missions are even harder, because you never actually get into a deployment routine. Things just go on hold, and you forget to pace yourself the way you would during a longer period. I don't have that marathon mindset right now, so if this were the first month of a deployment I would be in bad shape!
Unfortunately, my excitement over his return is tempered by the fact that we ARE getting ready for a 7-month deployment. The month of May is all we have left together, and then he has one more long training mission, immediately followed by deployment departure (schedule subject to change, of course). So I want to enjoy the time we have, but I also feel a ton of pressure to get all of our pre-deployment to-do list taken care of. And I know all he wants to do is relax and enjoy his final leave periods before deployment. While it will hopefully be a fun month, it will also be a stressful one, and I am not looking forward to what lies ahead of us. :-( Anyone have any good pre-deployment tips about dealing with stress or taking care of projects around the house?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Our Tornado Party!

So Saturday night I had planned a Fondue Party with some of my mom friends. We were all excited about hanging out kid-free and enjoying some wine and chocolate-dipped treats. Plus, I had invited some wives from my husband's new company, so I was looking forward to meeting some new people. Well... we had our party, but it was not at all the night we had imagined. There had been some tornado warnings on the news, so a few people canceled last-minute. But most ladies didn't want to cancel their childcare reservation, so they came anyway. Everyone got here just before it started to rain, and we were all hanging out having a great time.
Then, after we had been hanging out for about an hour, the power went out. I had anticipated this, so no big deal, I broke out some candles and glow sticks and we continued to enjoy ourselves. Then people started receiving frantic phone calls from family members asking where they were in Jacksonville. A tornado had touched down about 1 mile from my house! We were nervous, but there is no basement here, so not much we could do to get into a safe location. We watched the stormy skies and the flickering lightning, but there was no green coloring or the telltale whistle of a tornado. We relaxed slightly, but then moments later started hearing and reading accounts that the tornado had struck the base housing area! This is only a few miles away, and it is where everyone's children were in childcare for the night! No one was able to get through to the childcare center for a while, and when they finally did, they were told "When it is safe to leave your location, please come pick up your child." Well, the storm had stopped at our house, but we could hear police and ambulance sirens continuously down the street at the location where the tornado had ripped through a trailer park. They waited until things quieted down a bit, then started to leave in pairs. But the phone calls and texts they sent back told us of downed power lines and trees, terrible traffic, closed roads, and--worst of all--destroyed homes in the base housing area. Here is one home down the street from the childcare center:

Despite the panic and stress, everyone was eventually able to reach their children and get home safely. And yes, all the children and people I know were completely unharmed. While there were many injuries on base (including a little toddler who is still in critical condition) so far we have not heard of any deaths from the storm. Part of me is extremely relieved to be safe, and to have been spared any damage to my family or my home. But I am also heartbroken for the Jacksonville families both on and off base who are suffering so much. The storm made me feel very alone and helpless, not so much at the time, but more the day after as we tried to process the damage. Not that it would be much different if my husband were here with us, but at least then I would feel like the whole family was safe together. Thank goodness he comes back in a few days, because this is about as much stress as one pregnant gal can handle!