On Thursday, April 30, I got to help out with tornado relief efforts in Lincoln County, Tennessee, where I was assigned to work with a group of volunteers coordinated by and consisting of members of two congregations, Hope Assembly of Fayetteville, and The Rock Fayetteville, the latter of which is, I think, an offshoot of a larger Huntsville, Alabama, congregation. In addition, a many-students-strong group from the Fayetteville College of Cosmetology worked alongside members of the previously mentioned congregations. We worked clearing trees that’d fallen across a watery fence-row from one property to another, cutting tree trunks and tree limbs and wading across the shallow creek to haul out the cut pieces to pile them for pickup. I carried logs and brush all morning. After lunch, I agreed to help out with stacking and moving stuff to organize a warehouse at the fairgrounds, but had to leave to pick my son up from school before we had an opportunity to really get anything done there.
Kudos to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department for all their work ensuring the areas damaged by the storm were organized and policed to prevent looting and theft of donated items. Also present was the National Guard, likewise keeping order.
Here’s a photo of some of the many trees blown down:
I would’ve gone back on Friday, but had a previous commitment to participate in a Ride for Reading book distribution activity. For the event, I hooked up the Triplex panniers to the Miyata 610 and rode over the assembly point where participants got boxes of books, filled backpacks, panniers, trailers, donned t-shirts provided by the elementary school to which we were riding, and with police escort set off. The ride to the school was no more than a couple of miles, but riding slowly with several intersection stops along the way I found it a little awkward. It was also strange to me to be riding in a group – something I don’t do much. The children at the school seemed to enjoy the event, and so did the riders.
Here’s a picture of the Miyata with loaded panniers. The bike didn’t handle wonderfully at slow speeds, but when I was able to pedal faster, did great.