I spent the majority of the day in Dadeville, Alabama working with wood. However my work was far far different form the way I usually spend my weekends in my shop making projetcs. Dadeville is a small town in east central Alabama of less than 10,000 persons. Last Wednesday night Dadeville was one of the numerous Cities, Town, and Communities hit by tornados causing death and destruction. Dadeville didn’t make the news like some of the larger cities hit in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Greogia. Dadeville is close to my home and I know a number of people there and that makes the damage and destruction close to me too.
My oldest son called and said our church was putting a group together to help with the cleanup and I needed to go since they needed chainsaws and people who use them in trying conditions. Having seen a glimpse of the damage the day before I readily agreed to go help. I picked up a retired county agent woodworking friend and guy who is very good with a chainsaw and my son. We loaded the old chevy with chansaws and the support items and met some 25 others from the church to help with cleanup. Homes are destroyed and people injured in this storm. Three people were killed in the county we were in. The storm demolished homes that were valued at $10,000 and homes valued at over $2,000,000 without preference. We concentrated on the low end homes as the upper end homes were insured and cleanup will be covered. It has been a long long time since I ran a chainsaw for that many hours as my back and shoulders ache now.
I cut into scap many beautiful pines, oaks, cedar, poplar, and others that I would love to have had in my shop. There is no time to salvage the vast vast quantiy of wood blocking emergency services and repair crews from getting into areas to provide assistance. I cut wood until my saw would run out of gas, refill the saw and start back until dark made it unsafe.
Trees of every size imaginable lay in a tangled mass around homes and what used to be homes. The area in the path of the tornado looked like a total clear cut with the exception of trees around the fringe were twisted off some 6-8 feet above ground. The broken twisted stems littered yards, streets and in many cases became projectiles through homes. Cutting through this was our objective. I left at the end of the day feeling as if I made little progress because of the enormiety of the destruction.
At the end of the day I had not made anything out of wood, which is unusual for my efforts, I had not planed anything, turned anything or joined anything. I had cut wood, a lot of wood and I feel good about my days effort as I make plans to go back again.
-- Ray, Auburn, Alabama