If you didn’t know, I lived in Alabama for a couple of years and worked at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa from 2008 to 2010. Even though I have my issues with the university I was truly shaken by the tornado that demolished major sections of Tuscaloosa on April 27 and continued to move through the state, destroying parts of Birmingham and beyond. When I moved from Alabama last year I left many students I considered to be “my kids” and some friends and former coworkers. Needless to say, I was devastated and quickly got on my phone and texted everyone I knew to make sure they were okay. Fortunately, they all got back to me and told me they were alright. In the aftermath of the tornado, I couldn’t stop watching, reading, and listening of the effects of the monstrous EF-4 that swept through (what I consider to be) tiny Tuscaloosa. It’s completely devastating to see the roads I traveled to and from work no longer looking the same and to know the restaurants and stores I frequented were no longer standing. I am concerned for the people I regularly saw at these establishments and pray that they survived. If I were to return to T-town today I would have problems recognizing parts of town, landmarks and institutions are no more. Yet the small hometown of the Crimson Tide has managed to pull itself together and unite in the midst of tragedy. Neighbor is helping neighbor. Strangers are lending each other a hand. Even SEC rivals are pulling together to support their once sworn enemy. It’s a beautiful scene.
To get a better insight on the community, its people, and how Alabama sports continues to uplift and bring people together please read the Sports Illustrated article on Terror, Tragedy, and Hope in Tuscaloosa. It is a powerful article! I ask that you please continue to pray for Tuscaloosa and if you can and are able please contribute to their relief efforts.