Sunday, August 17, 2014

Not in the news but Not forgotten - Pilger, NE

After dropping my son off to college, I just had to go to Pilger, NE to see how the town was doing after the horrible June tornadoes (yes two) that so heavily damaged the area. They have been on my mind a lot over the summer and I was curious as to how the clean up was going.

I can honestly say I have only good things to say about the people in the area.  You do not see these people sitting around waiting for FEMA to show up. You don't see them asking for hand outs. You don't see them sitting on their front porch waiting for someone to bring them their next meal.

What you do see are typical Midwesterners with their amazing work ethics getting down to the business of rebuilding their community and helping each other out. You can't keep these people down. They just pull themselves up by their boot straps and get to work. They are not waiting for government hand outs.

The cleanup is complete in the town. A lot of farmers still have cleanup to complete.  I wonder how they will harvest their crops with all the debris left in the fields. I did see a lot piled near the edges of the fields but I am sure there is a lot still out there. Many such details no one thinks about post-storm.

Visiting the town for me was a very somber experience. I just wanted to do something to help each and every person. Yes, I had all ready given $$ through our church but driving through the town I wanted to do more, even if it was give someone a hug. That is how driving through the town made me feel.

I wanted to take photos to share with everyone to see what has happened to the town and people after it is no longer in the news. I felt so guilty for taking pictures but it wasn't to take advantage of anyone, rather I want to pay homage to these strong and wonderful people!!!!

So here is how the town looks as of mid August 2014 - two months post storm.

This is on the west edge of town. All the debris from the clean up is stored here. Those two trees are so sad to look at but they are still standing compared to the 100's of trees wiped out by the tornadoes. 

Here we have some semi remains. I am assuming the local CO-OP or local trucking firm owned these.  I also saw a Ford truck on my drive that looked like some giant monster had taken it, rolled it like play dough between its hands and tossed it down. It is beyond belief how these huge pieces of equipment look like crumpled little toys.

No one is out of line at all when they say downtown is gone.  There is the library and a couple other buildings still standing. The rest of main street consists of dirt lots. This building has the big OK sprayed on it so I am assuming that means the building is structurally sound. Even so, it is going to take a lot of work to get is usable again.  There were two buildings on this side of the street that had OK sprayed on them and were still standing.

Across the street from the above mentioned two buildings is the library you see in this next shot. It looks to be a fairly new building. I took the photo because the sign on the wall brought tears to my eyes. If you can't read it, it says Cali Dixon lives forever. That sign is paying tribute to the 5 year old girl killed by the tornado on main street.

Now to try and find something positive to write about, it is in this next photo. I am sitting on one of the streets in the town where the tornado went through. The road runs east and west but the tornado went southwest to north east. On the left side of the photo you see there is NOTHING. The tornadoes destroyed it all. On the right side of the photo you see a couple trees and some homes still standing.  But you will also see all new power lines up and a grain bin put in all ready! The grain bin looks so forlorn by itself but the folks were working hard to get some storage built before harvest which will arrive soon.

This next photo is on the north west side of town. The city's water tower was spared from the storm. I thought it was a beaker of hope that the town is far from dead. The local swimming pool was also saved from destruction. 

This final photo is of a farm north east of the town about 2  miles farther along in the tornadoes path.  The house was spared although heavily damaged but most of the outbuildings and trees are a total loss.

Today was uplifting when I saw a blurb in our church bulletin about making small packets for the folks in this town. I am happy to see that I am not the only person thinking about the folks in this area. God Bless not only the people in Pilger but also all the farmers surrounding the town struggling to rebuild. We have NOT forgotten you.

Friday, August 1, 2014

I just can't help myself sometimes....

I try to be a good person.

I try not to gossip.

I try to set a good example for my children.

But then some incident will toss all that goodness out the window and I have to start over at ground zero. Yes, I am back at ground zero after the story I am about to tell you.

First let me say I work for a VERY and I mean V - E - R - Y conservative company.  We have approximately 10,000 signs alone in our office building. Everything from be sure to scan your security card before entering the elevator to restrooms ----> to caution stairs to how to change the coffee filters. You name it - conservatism is a way of life.

Besides the signs, we have extremely aggressive safety rules. I understand 100% wanting to get home safely every night and it is vitally important for those people working in the field but we take things to the extreme.

Yes I am getting to my story but you needed some background to understand my story.

After my lunch-time workout I get a cup of ice to take back to my desk for my afternoon water. I like the ice in our break room area as it is the tiny small pieces a bit larger than crushed ice for my cup. I don't like the giant cubes so I make special effort to get ice before returning to my desk.  So as I am waiting for the elevator with my coworker I reach into my glass to pluck out a tiny piece to eat.  Oopsie, it falls on the ground. Well I know this is a company sin so I kick the minuscule piece of ice over right next to the wall out of every one's way and no one will be injured from this piece of ice.

I get on the elevator with a bunch of people.  There is a lady still outside the elevator that must have seen me move the ice and it was just not good enough for her. She makes loud disgruntled grunting noises as she is bending down to pick up this 3/4 melted piece of ice to show how displeased she is for me doing such an atrocity. How could anyone  leave that ice cube beside the wall to melt? 

The elevator doors are now beginning to close and I just can't help myself. I take a much larger chunk of ice and toss it out the almost closed elevator doors.  My friend bursts out laughing so hard I think she is going to pass out. Two of the other passengers have looks of terror on their face that I would do such a thing and one passenger pretends not to see anything.

I am sure a safety bulletin will be distributed shortly on the dangers of ice in the workplace. If only I could have hit her with it...