When I saw the devastation that countless families were facing in La Salle County, I knew I needed to do something to help. While there are a great number of families affected we would like to help — and we have given money to several — Ann and I decided to focus on one family to see if we could really make a difference.
Karen Barnes is a member of our church choir and my wife, Ann, and I have been friends with the family for over 35 years. Since Ann was off school — her school flooded — she was able to help, so we have been working there almost every day since the waters began to retreat to their banks.
Finally, the intensity of work in the Barnes household is easing up somewhat. I am still working every day, but most of the heavy lifting is over. This has been one of the most physically and emotionally demanding weeks of my life and I have lived with, and cried, with this family all the way through. I am very proud that our house (note how I have taken ownership) is one of the few on the block that doesn’t have a sticker not allowing anyone in but workers.
I see Red Cross volunteers a lot and often get water from them. Today, I got some gloves and a clean-up kit. They were really compassionate and emotionally supportive, as I am sure they could tell how exhausted we all are. I now have a grasp of what the Red Cross and other agencies do, and also what grief people experience when they lose almost everything. Despite the tremendous weight of restoring a flood ravaged home, there is no other way I would have spent this last week. The outpouring of support and strength from the community has been amazing, and I am thankful to know that I live in a community that bands together to support each other in times of trouble.
Please pray for our city.
Kent Terry, Marseilles, American Red Cross Illinois Valley Chapter