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Robert Norris

Tornado assistance

Tornado assistance

by nil | May 2nd, 2011

April 29, 2011

By Robert Norris

Several of you mentioned a feeling a need to help with the tornado relief effort. So you will know, Norris Injury Lawyers has done a small part in trying to relieve some of the suffering and hardship but the total task seems almost impossible. After a trip to Sam’s Club, Robbie Norris and I spent several hours yesterday afternoon and evening, in the Pratt City community, passing out snacks (prepackaged, cookies, nut rolls, donuts, etc.) together with bottled water to homeowners and their families who were trying to salvage small amounts of personal memories from their homes that were totally destroyed.  We took the Norris car and were admitted behind police lines to offer a brief break to the workers. Everyone was very appreciative and though there was chaos and destruction everywhere, there was a spirit of friendship and gratitude for being alive.

Our delivery of 500+ bottles of water and 1,500+ snack packages passed out one at a time was well received as there were no other relief efforts in the area and only a couple of utility service pickup trucks.  There was nothing to fix; it was all gone.

The television pictures don’t tell the entire visual story and almost none of the human emotion. It was gratifying and humbling. I heard more “Thank yous,” “Bless yous,” and expressions of appreciation yesterday afternoon than is possible to count. A group of young teenage boys: “Thanks for caring.” Old grandmothers: “Bless you, child.” Children and adults walking in and out of the area like refugees. Very sad.

The name recognition of our firm (and my face) was surprising. The acknowledgement they gave us for being  there with them was gratifying.

Astounding visual images to numerous to mention:

• a freight train lying on its side, blown off of the tracks

• cars that looked like a match box toy hit with a hammer

• there was no place in the entire community where you could place your foot and not step on some form of debris

• mattresses in trees

• clothes, pictures, papers, scattered like confetti

except for items of personal sentimental worth, not 5% of everything we saw had any intrinsic value.

Toward the end when we carried some water and food across a pile of rubble to some guys who were poking around for items in what was once part of a basement, we all heard the unmistakable pleading whimpers of a dog coming from under a pile of collapsed house parts. Five or six guys started digging toward the sound with intermittent stops to listen and get a new direction. Sadly, before we could locate the poor creature, he quit barking. The digging continued for a while but was finally abandoned as the bricks and parts of the walls were so massive and intertwined that it became unmanageable.

Please be sensitive to anyone you talk to who has had any exposure or loss derived from these storms. They are traumatized and need comfort, understanding and help. As you may know a team member’s area was severely hit. Not only have parts of her neighborhood been destroyed, she has lost friends who died in the storm.


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