Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Scouts to the Rescue in Enterprise, Alabama

On March 1st this year Enterprise, AL was hammered by a killer tornado. Terror spread across the South Eastern United States as part of a storm system that barreled through the Midwest and Southern States. When it ended 20 people were dead in three states. Among the victims were students from Enterprise High School, killed when the section of the building where they were taking cover collapsed.

Boys Scouts in the area lost friends and family. In the aftermath, schools closed early for spring break and as the boys walked through the devastation in their community, along with their leaders, they decided to become proactive and help with the clean up.

Troop 77 and six others rallied together to get the job done. They canvassed neighborhoods throughout town, clearing debris, removing trees from roofs, picking up shingles that'd been blown from the house tops, doing whatever needed to be done.

Among the devastation was one Eagle Scout's grandparent's house, which was totally lost. They boy said the neighborhood around his grandparent's home looked like a war zone.

One scout was in the car with his father when the tornado passed 30 yards in front of them and hit the high school. He watched the twister make impact with the school, where one of his friends was killed. "Through all of this, I've learned how people can come together, " he told Boys Life Magazine.

Three months after the disaster, the Enterprise High School seniors graduated. One of the valedictorians said, We gather here today in the ruins of our school, but we are not ruined."

It will cost two million dollars to repair the town but the spirit of the town's people is a different story. Disheartened citizens can draw strength from the resilience of the high school students who huddled together while their shelter fell down around them. They can look to the local boy scouts for examples of altruism. The town will recover and go on, they have banned together to help and comfort each other, knowing, no doubt, that tornado season will be back, as it is every year and they will as prepared as possible.

If you live in an area where tornadoes occur, the scouts want to pass along these lifesaving tips:

Before the tornado:
Know the warning signs. Look for strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base. Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Listen for a loud, continuous roar or rumble.

During the tornado:
Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor of the building. Go to the center room or closet where there are no windows. Cover yourself with some sort of thick padding, blankets, mattress, to protect from falling debris.

After the tornado:
Keep your family or group together and wait for help to arrive. Carefully render aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas. Stay calm.

I would add to help others as much as possible. Be involved in the clean up. Offer aid or to share whatever you have with neighbors who are in the same situation. Sometimes the best way to lessen your hurt and anxiety is to help someone else with theirs. Part of the Cub Scout Promise is to help others...hold onto that thought and the image of the boys rallying around their town.

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