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From rubble to rejoicing

The 4.24.2012 edition of The Herald-Gazette is chock full of stories looking at the rebuilding and rejoicing as we approach the one year anniversary of the killer tornado. By Kay S. Pedrotti Once again, the mettle of Lamar County’s tornado survivors astounds and inspires us. They were tested as none of us can imagine but they are literally rejoicing after the rubble. The post-tornado storm of paperwork threatened to inundate more than one survivor family — bureaucracies, government or private sector, seem compelled to make it harder for people to recover. They were tested as none of us can imagine but they are literally rejoicing after the rubble. The post-tornado storm of paperwork threatened to inundate more than one survivor family — bureaucracies, government or private sector, seem compelled to make it harder for people to recover. One family tells of the mortgage hassle in trying to get a new home loan. They had to update their employment verification every 10 days; by the time the information got to the right people in the megabank, it was outdated and had to be done again. The mom said, ‘It was like a conveyor belt — we kept going round and round and getting nowhere.’ In the past year The Herald Gazette has interviewed many survivors. Each person is grateful to be alive, stronger in their faith and amazed and delighted by the outpouring of care from friends and total strangers. They retain their sense of humor in spite of everything. Even the most severely affected can use the healing effects of laughter to get through the dark times. As the various volunteers who helped after the tornado can attest, no one escaped being emotional at the sight of utter devastation and the tears of the survivors. It’s a time of being overwhelmed, of not knowing where to start. The unbelievable and monumental response to those affected by the tornado meant the difference between utter despair and the beginning of hope. Chaplains or pastors, who deal with loss on a near-daily basis, or even those perfect strangers, were not afraid to hug survivors — the human touch is what lifts the heart and soothes the spirit. Many examples of the touch of volunteers and the recovery of stricken families are in this anniversary edition. The newspaper is donating 20% of all advertising in the section to the Barnesville-Lamar Community Foundation. There is no answer to why some remained alive and some did not. We believe that the survivors all over Lamar County and the country have their own answers. They can see hope, continue themselves to help others in need and believe that blessings have come to them through the worst of experiences.

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