Archive for Wednesday, May 17, 2000

The kindnesses are innumerable

May 17, 2000

During the past six days, this community has seen the fury of Mother Nature and the kindness of our neighbors.

This dichotomy is striking. And it serves to remind us that in times of disaster, human kindness takes over. As one Tonganoxie woman put it 36 hours after Thursday's tornado swept into town: That's what neighbors do. They help each other.

This community was extremely lucky, for the most part, that we didn't suffer more. On Friday morning, as we began to move around, we knew we were lucky. At least no one had been killed, we said. We felt fortunate.

By late morning, as word of little Kaela Humburg's death spread throughout our town, we felt a little less fortunate. We felt as if the rug that had been pulled out from under us Thursday night again had been yanked away when Kaela was killed as relatives cleaned up outside a Tonganoxie house. We were shaken.

But as friends from across the region poured into Tonganoxie and began to help us, we were rejuvenated by their kindness. It was those acts by neighbors, those acts by strangers that began to restore us. It will be some time before Tonganoxie is whole again. But it will rebuild. And it will recover.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the many people who came to our aid. They hauled away our destruction. They hugged us as we mourned. They turned our lights back on. They've helped in so many, many ways.

And we thank them all of them.

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