This is the small town of Crawford, Alabama near Smiths Station, Alabama days after a tornado ripped through the area on the morning of April 29th 2014. Thankfully no one was seriously injured or killed! By the time I arrived on the scene the cleanup crews, emergency responders, police, military and most of the families were already gone, leaving the area a virtual ghost town with exception of a few home owners picking through the wreckage.
Destruction like this helps you to realize our petty differences as humans mean nothing in the face of tragedy. Natural disasters have a way of putting real life and what’s truly important into perspective.
Take a close look at each of these photos. Carefully scan every detail within these shots and you will continuously discover something new that you might have missed upon first glance. Every single item scattered within the debris regardless of it’s size was once someone’s personal belongings. Everything you see was accumulated over time to create the inside of these people’s home. Think of how long it has taken you to purchase all of the things inside of your home? Think of all of the precious items that can’t be purchased or replaced such as, old photos or maybe family heirlooms passed down through generations? Now imagine all of it gone? All gone through no fault of your own, and there’s nothing you can do about it. How would you feel? These were all of the questions I had to ask myself as I looked all around me. A very sobering moment for me…
It’s both visually and mentally surreal to see an entire neighborhood leveled like this. Witnessing devastation on this scale first-hand makes you appreciate all of the things you’ve worked hard to earn, but more importantly it makes you understand how it can all be gone in an instant! You must ultimately come to the realization that your most precious possession in life truly is life itself. As painful as it is to sift through the remains of your possesions, as helpless as you may feel, eventually you will start to feel grateful again. Grateful in the understanding that you’ll be able to carry on. Grateful that you have the ability to regroup and rebuild. It may be tremendously difficult and it may take a very long time, but, you have another chance to start anew. Always keep faith in God and humanity.
The lesson to take away from all of this is, it is very important to reach out to those in need because they could easily be you! They are you! Remember, nature doesn’t discriminate, so always be mindful and remain compassionate towards those in unfortunate circumstances.
God bless everyone involved. Peace be upon you!
(As always, click on any photo for a larger view)
Below is the link to a story on a local fire Friday night that I provided photos and video for. Both the videos and photos are currently being run on WTVM News Leader 9 in Columbus GA. I don’t get to do this nearly as much as I would like but I have a deep love and respect for photo journalism. Using our cameras to help illustrate the news is an awesome power to possess! I would like to exercise mine more starting now!!! Who knows, I might actually get a fulfilling job as a news photographer? News Leader 9 Official Website & Story; http://www.wtvm.com/story/22424083/two-firefighters-injured-in-warehouse-explosion Here’s the actual HD video footage I shot straight from the camera: