Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Gifford Tornado: A Long Road Ahead

On our way back from attending the Eastern Illinois Allied Masonic Degree meeting in Paxton, IL on Sunday, Greg Knott and I took a little detour through Gifford, Illinois.  As you may know, about two weeks ago, that small town was devastated by a tornado.  What we saw there was rather shocking, but not unfamiliar.  What we saw was a very badly damaged town, that was already well on its way to recovery--so much more to do.  Back in '96, Ogden, IL was destroyed in much the same way. 

But what never ceases to amaze me is the resiliency of the human spirit.  I was amazed at how the community came together and helped each other.  I was amazed at the efforts of Fire Departments in surrounding communities in collecting and providing much needed supplies early on.  I was amazed at how many local organizations jumped right in to help as well--the local news stations, the American Legion, the churches, various charities, the Freemasons.  People showed up with their heavy equipment and volunteered their time.  Each small effort adding up in such a big way.  Gifford will recover, and hopefully, be stronger as a community having gone through this horrible tragedy.  But they have a long and difficult road ahead, so keep those donations coming.  They are being put to good use.  I read in the paper this morning that REO Speedwagon and STYX played a benefit concert in Bloomington last night--they raised $300,000 for the tornado recovery! 

Sometimes we think our life is difficult and plagued with problems.  Imagine if you will, that in fifteen minutes, everything you own is wiped off the face of the Earth and you're faced with starting over again.  You're biggest problem isn't how you're going to manage to get home and make a dessert for the PTA supper and get there in time--it's where you're going to sleep, and what you're going to wear, and how you're going to get there without a car. 

This is the time of the year where we're buying gifts for our friends and our families.  But it should also be a time of the year to try and make the world a little better place.  Don't forget those that could use your help.  Be sure if you have the resources to do so, you give a little to others this time of year.  Write a check to your favorite charity.  Drop a little something in the bucket on your way into the mall.  Financially support the things you believe in.  As the folks that have been the beneficiaries of such generosity will tell you, it's a small effort individually that adds up to a huge benefit together. 


Todd E. Creason is an author and novelist whose work includes the award-winning non-fiction historical series Famous American Freemasons and the novels One Last Shot (2011) and A Shot After Midnight (2012). He's currently working on the third novel Shot to Hell which will be released in Spring 2014. You can contact Todd E. Creason at:

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