Thursday, March 20, 2014

Our Hope for a Tornado Shelter

This week I launched the start of a go fund me campaign to hopefully raise funds to install a tornado shelter at our home.  It's a pretty big deal to this yankee.  Typical southern attitudes toward tornadoes are pretty calm, its a normal weather pattern down here and something the locals have grown up dealing with.  I have heard people reguarlly joke that when they see a tornado coming they go outside to watch and photograph it.  For me, it's an unpredictable and scary time that starts with me plastered to a TV new channel and ends up with me crouched in my closet, panicking and calling my mom.

Last year was a terrible year.  Major tornadoes wiped out several towns, one about 30 miles away and another about 60 miles away from our home in Stillwater.  I told the story here: 60 Short Miles .  Many lives were lost, several were only children.  Driven to action by shear heartbreak, I reached out to friends and family asking for a quick response to financial give to help purchase supplies to donate to those who had lost their homes.  And respond you did, I received hundreds of dollars, which turned in supplies that safely landed in the hands of those directly effected by the storms.  See photos and details here: My Hands Were Your Hands.  Not all families support each other in this way, and I am so thankful that I was brought up in a home that taught me to give and support others.  And not just my family, but my home church and friends have always had my back when I needed them.  I am grateful to have built relationships with others I can lean on, others who I also support! 

Last tornado season more than once I threw a bag of stuff and Reagan in my jeep to go to a safe place to wait out a storm.  We also spent time inside our neighbor's shelter as we watched the clouds swirl around us.  We have been lucky, the only tornado on our property was in 2011 and only did tree damage.  My blog post with pictures from that week is here. One large tree was torn up by the roots, falling along side our home and thankfully not through it.  Chet and I were both home at the time, I was 20 weeks pregnant and terrified.  The power had gone out, so we went outside to look at the sky when we heard it coming.  Chet told me to run and we both took shelter in the closet.  I remember calling mom as I sat in our closet crying because I couldn't get my sneakers to fit on my swollen feet.  We had been watching the news show coverage of other tornadoes about 30 miles away, we had no warning a tornado had touched down less than 3 miles from our home.  We had no place to hide.  My facebook album of the pictures I took are here.  Our neighbors fared much worse, with significant damage to their homes and property.  See my facebook video of the damage to our neighbor's properties here.  We later learned it was an EF2, somewhat small on the scales but significant enough to do major damage.  It was close call for us, and nothing will prevent that from happening again.  This time I don't want to rely on luck, I want to be prepared. 

As each storm season passes, so does the fear for a little while.  The news slowed and then stopped the story lines of loss and destruction and life moved on.  But as Oklahoma starts to warm up, we don't often call it spring here.  This time of year is known as tornado season. 

This is the part where I ask for help.  We would love a storm shelter at our home.  We have added this to our long range plans but tornado season always flares up the urgency for it.  I currently don't have more than a closet to protect us and frankly that's not enough.    Tornado shelters are expensive to install, and though we will also be contributing to its cost we just can't fund it alone.  I hope you will consider helping us out, in any amount.  This will keep us safe.  This will bring me peace of mind during a storm.  This will provide a way to protect Reagan.  This will allow us to survive a tornado. 

If you are interested in helping us fund a tornado shelter please make your donation on our go fund me page "A Tornado Shelter for the Skimbo House" website.  Please join me in praying for a safe tornado season for Oklahoma, and healing for those who have already faced loss from previous storms.  And if you can, help me keep my family safe for future storms.   
Thank you.