My Mom and Step Dad huddle in a small closet in the middle of their home as the roar of a higher end EF4 tornado rips through a few miles south of them through Mayflower, Arkansas. As they step out of the closet the sound of dozens emergency vehicles pass by. Many miles away in Russellville my Sister-in-law gets a phone call from her Father. A tree was in her's and my brother's home in Saltillo, a small country community that lies northeast of Mayflower and southwest of Vilonia. They were lucky. Many others were not. A total of 15 people lost their lives that night and many communities and small towns were laid to waste. I have heard stories of heroism and stories of sadness. I've seen people on Facebook make derogatory statements about the donations the victims have received. But the thing I have seen the most is how the people of Arkansas come together in a crisis. While helping my family salvage what they could I looked around me. In the middle of clusters of people digging through the rubble and cleaning up the debris were people in trucks, loaded down with supplies, handing out food, water, and toiletries. Most of these people were many miles from their homes. Many volunteers came up to offer their help to clear trees and debris, to help the victims salvage what they could. Everywhere you look businesses are taking donations and donation sites that have so much supplies they have to have semi trucks to haul it in. The kindness these people have shown brings tears to the eye. You see this kind of thing on tv but to see it up close is very different. What I have seen the past few days has restored my faith in humanity. It has made me proud to call myself an Arkansan.
The road to recovery has only just begun and volunteers are still very much needed, but the Arkansas spirit is very strong and we will recover with the help of each other.