On our trip to Iowa last week, we paid a visit to Parkersburg where on May 25th an EF5 tornado leveled half of the town. We went to see if we could find where my grandma's old house used to be behind the high school or my aunt and uncle's house next to the Kwik Star.
First let me say that yes, we did feel quite badly going to Parkersburg and New Hartford without being able to volunteer our time. We tried to be respectful that this community is still in the midst of devastation and is a disaster area. People lost their lives, homes, cars, everything. We did not walk around other people's property and were mindful not to get in anyone's way (I hope).
Pay attention to the vast open space where neighborhoods used to be. Plywood signs label the streets. Driveways lead to empty concrete foundations, or holes in the ground. Pile after pile of wood, cement blocks and debris are all that are left of homes. Street signs are bent. Trees that remain look strange, some are still standing with half missing, others were sucked up out of the ground with the roots intact. Most left standing are stripped of their bark and broken, as if a giant had been whittling them. What struck me was the stillness of the town despite heavy machinery and the steps that no longer led anywhere.
It is my hope that this tragedy not be soon forgotten. With that in mind, feel free to take a look at the pictures and video footage. If you feel so moved, I'm sure the Red Cross would be happy to take a donation (see the side bar of the blog to donate).