COLUMN: After devastating storms, lend a helping hand

Tornadoes have physical, emotional toll on those affected

“I need to tell you something.”

It’s my friend Amiya on the phone. It’s Dec. 27, one day after a tornado hit Red Oak, destroying churches, houses, and even Donald T. Shields Elementary.

I think I know what she’s going to say.

“My house got hit by the tornado.”

I react the way any friend would: asking her if I need to come spend the night, if she needs anything, if she’s OK.

“I’m OK,” she tells me. “I promise.”

Like many ROMS families whose houses fell victim to tornado damage, Amiya and her family are staying in a hotel. So is my dance teacher, Cathy Isaacks, whose home was damaged in the storms. Ms. Isaacks told us about her situation when we got back to school for the spring semester.

All I could think was: How could all of this happen the day after Christmas, when it seems like everything is fine? It’s winter: how is there rain and tornadoes and destruction? I think my feelings are similar to many of those in Red Oak: I feel terrible for the people who were affected, and lucky that my family’s home was spared.

And many of those who lost their homes consider themselves spared, too; after all, 11 people in North Texas were killed by the tornadoes.

No matter what your perspective, we can all see this as an opportunity to help. Donate items to the Red Cross. Donate clothing, food, blankets, anything you can spare. You can also spare some time, just to listen.

Those of us at ROMS probably all know someone who could use the shoulder to lean on.