I can't believe it's already been almost a week since the tornado. I'll pick up where I left off...
Wednesday morning brought the creation of the Union Emergency website, which has since morphed into the Union Recovery website. On Wednesday afternoon the website contained a phone number to call if you were a student needing temporary housing or a faculty/staff member willing to provide temporary housing. I called and was immediately connected to a junior nursing student. She and her freshman brother needed a place to stay. They're from Memphis, but wanted to hang around at least one more day to see if they could get on campus and find her car. By Wednesday night they had been made aware that her car was trashed, so they arranged for their mom to get them on Thursday morning.
They were wonderful guests. Jay picked them up and took them to Wal-Mart. The two Wal-Mart bags increased her possessions by about 60%--all she had made it out with was her backpack. We went to church for dinner and then came home so they could collapse. Their mom came on Thursday morning. It was obvious after meeting her where they got their "home training," as my 5th grade Social Studies teacher would call it.
We've since been asked on multiple occasions to house a student or two for the rest of the semester. As much as we would love to, our home is simply too small and our children simply too disruptive to make it work.
Things are progressing at an amazing speed at Union. They plan to have housing for the rest of the semester worked out by the end of tomorrow (one of the Baptist church in town owns a hotel and has given it for Union's use until December 2008, so that helps). The Assistant Provost has arranged a new class schedule that will allow graduation to take place on schedule. Dorms rooms are being cleaned out and students whose belongings are available for pickup are being contacted daily. Procedures were set up last week for students to get replacement IDs, driver's licenses, and FEMA assistance. As exhausted as Dr. Dockery is, I hope he still has the energy to pat himself on the back every night for surrounding himself with such unbelievably efficient and competent people. It's truly amazing.
And to answer Anna's question:
We didn't do much, to tell the truth. We opened the windows and turned on the news when we heard the tornado sirens, but that was about all. I sat on the couch with one foot out, ready to run at any second. We already knew that we'd each grab a kid and a mattress and hunker down in the bathroom. It was just a matter of deciding when. But there was never any indication that it was coming our way, so we just sat. Once we heard that Union had been hit we knew it was too far north to hit us. Everyone else I know sat in a closet with a weather radio, snacks, and toys. I guess we should've done that, too, but after living in Tennessee for so long I've become kind of oblivious to the warnings. I know that's not smart. Oh well.