|View a photo gallery from the day's visit|
I had heard the words and seen the pictures from Ian Lynch’s email and facebook postings but nothing prepared me for the sense of devastation I felt in seeing the tornado damage.
From my first sighting as I drove into Brimfield on Route 20 and saw a swath about 200 yards wide where trees were uprooted and others, old growth full sized trees were broken off like toothpicks, to the shell of a grocery store in Monson that looked like a bombed out building in a war zone, I was awestruck by the magnitude of damage that could happen in 15 seconds. The huge hole in the magnificent brass bell that laid in the midst of the rubble that was the steeple at First Congregational Church in Monson, along with overturned vehicles and houses torn to shreds hurt my heart, stirring sadness and helpless feelings. I can’t even imagine the sadness and loss felt by those experiencing it.
But I wasn’t left feeling helpless or hopeless for long. There were incredible stories of survival and it was amazing grace that more lives were not lost. Most impressive and hopeful were the signs of genuine caring and community that was visible among the church folk, town folks and volunteers. People were keeping a positive attitude and determined to work together to rebuild.
Linda Reilly is a member of the Conference Board of Directors.