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Witnessing Beauty in the Wake of Devastation


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Over the weekend, I received a group email looking for volunteers to come and help a day in Windsor, where a mile-wide tornado struck killing one, and damaging or destroying more than 200 homes.

It was one of the first emails I received as a newly elected board member of Volunteer Connection.

While I was smack dab in the middle of the 1989 Earthquake in Santa Cruz (my home was a mile from the epic center), this was the first time in my life I had volunteered to help clean up after a natural disaster.

I was both touched and amazed at the outpouring of help and donations.

So much so, that we became overwhelmed by the amount of stuff donated. It made me realize how lucky we are to live where we do. There are likely rural areas outside of New Orleans that didn’t receive as much of an outpouring of help following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
More than 300 people showed up Saturday, but the United Way and Red Cross were not ready for them yet, so names were taken and they were sent home.

Despite many volunteers being turned away, I witnessed so much goodwill.

There must have been one, if not two, semi-truck loads of clothing, household goods, bedding and more delivered to the donation center. Granted, not all of the clothes were useable (I suspect some people used the situation as an opportunity to get rid of unwanted items), but for the most part, people really just wanted to help.

I don’t know if the people of Windsor will be able to use all of the things donated today, but I am sure they are appreciative for the volunteers and outpouring from the community.

I just hope that we can take this same willingness to help those close to home regardless its in the wake of disaster of just to help someone in need.

If you want to volunteer but don’t know where to begin, contact Volunteer Connection for opportunities in Windsor or elsewhere throughout the North Metro area.

—Shavonne Blades

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