To the editor:
To all those who volunteered Saturday in the community cleanup, I would like to thank you for all the help you gave to storm victims. The time, food and concerns were greatly appreciated.
To the editor:
On Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008 at approximately 1:30 a.m., my world and many of my neighbors and friends lives were turned upside down. At that time, various weather conditions - a tornado, straight line winds, rain and hail - visited our fair county and caused considerable damage to those in their paths.
I must admit when I arrived at my farm at 2 a.m. that morning, I thought I had lost everything in the world. It took me a couple of days to realize that I had actually lost very little and gained so much more.
Ive heard it said that Americans are at their best when all is at tis worst, and I learned the people of Harrison County are even better than the best.
My dairy had been destroyed, so first I called my brother Dean, who milks in Grant County, and he immediately agreed to take my cows and milk them until I learned what I will do. Our first job was to round up all my cows and get them to Grant County.
Amazingly, in the dark, wet, nasty morning, neighbors showed up and plowed through the mud, manure and fallen buildings and worked for hours helping me round up my cows and get them loaded on the trailers. Dirty, wet and cold, all my neighbors would take from me was a heartfelt Thank you, which I meant from the bottom of my heart.
The next morning, I stood looking at my tobacco crop which was sticking out from the rubble of an eight-bent tobacco barn which looked like it got a direct hit from a bomb. The task ahead of me seemed impossible. This one tobacco crop had already been frozen in April, gone through the summer drought, hit by hail in mid-August and now a tornado had buried it in rubble.
Again, though, my neighbors came through. As I decided that I needed rail wagons to hang to hang tobacco on to dry out, here they came. My friends and neighbors brought rail wagons and then stayed for two days while we tore that barn apart, one board at time, and pulled the tobacco out of the rubble.
It still seems impossible to me, but to all my friends all it took was teamwork and the job got done.
Again, tired, dirty and wore completely out from tearing the barn apart by hand, my friends would accept no pay and I can never say thank you enough to them.
When the tornado hit my dairy barns, the wind took a shed 68 feet wide by 64 feet long, plus the major part of a tobacco barn, and deposited them on about five acres of ground which belongs to my neighbor.
Then on Thursday afternoon, a group of about 12 Mennonite men stopped at the dairy and although I had never met a one of them before, they worked all afternoon helping to clean up my tremendous mess and would not accept any pay.
I apologixe to these men, for I was not there when they left to say, Thank you. But to each of you, you have left a lasting impression of what truly decent and honest people you are.
I want to thank each and all my neighbors and friends - many who lost as much as or more than me - but still helped me before they got their own messes cleaned up.
I want to thank all the Farm Bureau personnel who worked hard and got my insurance check for 100 percent loss in jiust four days.
I want to say, Thank you, to Harrison County Judge-Executive Alex Barnett for stopping by in the midst of the mess and getting a dumpster at the dairy for me.
I want to thank the Blue Grass Energy crew who worked to get my electric back on.
I want to sayt, Thank you, to all the people who offered to help me.
Last of all, and most important of all, I want to thank my very special Valentine, Mrs. Joyce Colson, who stuck with me and kept me from losing it and going crazier than I am. I want to thank all my family who supported me and Joyces family whove helped me.
The first day after the tornado, I told people that I wnet from being poor to being a pauper. By the second day, I realized I had actually gone from being poor to being one of the richest people on Earth, because friends are a wealth that cant be neasured.
I tell everyone, now that I realize, when no one was hurt, no animals even got a scratch and my equipment was barely touched; that although I lost my dairy barn, a tobacco barn, a hay shed and the roof off my apartment, this tornado has turned into a small inconvenience and made me a much richer person.
Thank you, Harrison County.