The hidden road to long term recovery

I am flaming mad. I rotate emotions surrounding the 12/26/15 tornado and it’s aftermath, but right now, I am flaming mad. And not about the tornado itself, or even the damage that it did. I am mad because the world has moved on and seemingly forgotten what happened. But the damage remains.

I am most mad at the world that is right close by, the one I live in and inhabit every day. The one that knows better than to have forgotten. Because all any one of us has to do is drive about 5 miles from where we live, and there will still be houses in pieces in once whole neighborhoods. There will still be roofs that have tarps on them. Debris that has infiltrated the landscape. And lives that are forever changed. How on earth could all of this be forgotten so easily?

I am also bone tired. I am tired because I feel like I am hitting a brick wall asking for donations for our tornado relief center, one of two that remain from the many that started. I am tired because I am one of only a few people that shares out my posts about needing items. And we DESPERATELY need items. I would not ask if there was not need.


I am tired because I am so very small trying to do something very big, and I feel like there are so few of us left to do it. I love the ones I am trucking with, I feel like I have met new kindred spirits. But they are tired too. Because we are fighting a battle very few people know is even going on.

Where are all the things that people had to give when the tornado aftermath was new? Where are all the people who wanted to donate their time back then? The need is no smaller, and it is only slightly different, it is just that time has passed and people have gone on with their lives. And forgotten. Even people right nearby. Why are my pleas and the pleas of the few still going falling on deaf ears? I know we sound like a broken record, but it is a record that still needs to be played.

The thing about long term recovery is that it is just that. Long. Long isn’t one month. It isn’t two months. Best estimate from those who have walked this path before is two years. TWO YEARS. We are not even at the 6th month mark, and already all the initial enthusiasm and giving has dried up and gone. And the second wave of help has as well.

So I am flaming mad and bone weary and my house never got hit. I am just a volunteer trying to help. I do not have to deal with the day to day reality of losing a home, or part of one. I do not have to deal with living somewhere else, maybe multiple other places. I do not have to deal with insurance companies, and contractors, and the all sorts of other things trying to rebuild or start again. I do not have to deal with not having money to rebuild because I was not insured, under insured, or frankly even well insured but it is still not enough because it isn’t that simple. So if I am tired and angry I can’t even begin to fathom what must be going through the mind of those who are dealing with all of that.

I hope they know that I have not forgotten, and my church has not forgotten, and many more of us have not forgotten. And that we are all still right there with them, with whatever we have to give.

We aren’t news anymore. But we should be. This day to day recovery process is a massive undertaking the likes of which I have never seen. But the world needs to see. The world right here in Rowlett, and Rockwall, and the DFW area need to see.

This is no sprint friends, this is a marathon. And we have miles to go. Please pray for us, especially the tornado survivors as they rebuild. Please ask what is still needed, and give what you can. And let’s not forget that this happened to us, and not to someone else.

Edit 5/20/16 – For those who have asked here is a list of what we need at The Tornado Relief Center along with address and hours. I will make a new blog post with this and a couple other places that need help this weekend.



18 responses to “The hidden road to long term recovery

  1. Holy… Props to you for sticking through with it and dedicating so much time and energy! Although mentally and physically exhausted, you are an angel!
    What is needed? How can people in other states help out?

    • The best way for someone in another state to help out right now is to help out with the long term recovery fund that the City of Rowlett has set up. It is designed to help support the needs people in town have rebuilding their lives in the long term recovery process. Even those with excellent insurance are hurting financially quite a lot. Here is a link to the long term recover page, there is a way to contribute on the right side.

  2. Exactly where would we go to give a donation for the cause I understand what you are flaming mad about so please face book may so we can do what we can . Also we were hit by the tornado but the insurance co. Covered the damages and that all they did..

  3. I have been following this page since the start… If only the entire Metroplex could see this… This explains perfect how so easily once the initial aftershock slows down publicly, the volunteers and donations trickle down to nothing and they forget all about the people hurting and struggling… Daily trying to rebuild, regain, and renew… My heart aches even when I know a slight rain is heading that direction due to so many homes still left unfinished and etc… I pray your post is seen by enough eyes that your prayers are answered… PM me if there is anything I can do to help.. PLEASE!!!

  4. Part of the problem is that there are so many volunteers that have become disaster fatigued. We have moved from one disaster to another disaster to yet another with the companies we volunteer with. You have a lot of volunteers that come in with the immediate relief, then the communities have to take on the long term relief. That is what is difficult. I also work with a long term relief committee in our area, and we can’t get volunteers. Most volunteers want to be boots on the ground when the disaster first strikes and the wounds are fresh, and the need is most noticeable. They help out a lot at that time, then return home to their normal jobs, etc. (Many have 1 – 2 weeks off work for things like this). It is hard to find people with time and energy to go the long haul. Good luck in your endeavors. Try re-rallying your church and social groups to do fund raisers to bring it back to the public eye.

    • My church does help out. We collect and bring stuff by. But we are very small. A few other churches in town do the same. But on the whole, people have forgotten outside of organizations like this. I am helping with a fundraiser and there are a couple other ones. But there are not enough people to go around right now in terms of getting all the things done that need done.

  5. Thank you from a family that is rebuilding our home. There are so many that are stuck in limbo, the rebuilding process has not started for them and that is so hard to understand since it has been almost 5 months. Our construction started Monday so we are just now getting the feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel. 12 26 is real and it has forever changed us. Thank you again for all you and the volunteers have done for this community. We are blessed.

  6. Can you contact me? My husband and I were under the bridge that night where the 11 people died and I would love to do whatever I can to help you.

  7. Can you post what items are needed? I would love to share your blog post along with items so folks can know what to bring. Thanks.

    • I am going to add the picture to the end of the post. It doesn’t seem to want me to add a picture in a reply. I will also make a new blog post this weekend with a few places that still need help. Thank you!

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