Dear MOTHER August/September 2017

Letters from our readers about a debt-free cabin, agriculture in the classroom, a community garden, and more.

| August/September 2017

HOPE for Recovery

Thank you for Hank Will’s “Finding Silver Linings” editorial in the June/July 2017 issue. The March wildfires gravely impacted my neighbors in the Kansas communities of Ashland, Englewood, Protection, and Coldwater. Since then, I’ve watched truckload after truckload of donated hay and supplies destined for Clark County roll through my town — all thanks to the generosity of caring strangers.

I live in neighboring Kiowa County where an EF5 tornado destroyed the town of Greensburg in 2007. The outpouring of love from neighbors near and far buoyed our small town during its darkest moments.

On May 4 this year, as our town was marking the anniversary of the tornado, Stars of HOPE (a disaster relief and community arts project) returned to Greensburg to hold an event with elementary and junior high students. The students painted messages of encouragement and love on wooden stars that were taken to areas affected by disaster.

On May 5, three of us from Greensburg, along with a volunteer from Arkansas and a volunteer from New York, loaded a van with stars and drove to Ashland. We met with people who’d lost their homes. We shared stories and tears. As neighbors, we reminded them that they’re not alone and that there’s hope after disaster. We covered downtown with colorful Stars of HOPE, stopping at a veterinarian’s home and the Giles Ranch, which suffered enormous livestock and personal losses. During recovery and rebuilding, we’ll continue to hold those families in our hearts.

When the tornado struck Greensburg 10 years ago, neighbors from surrounding communities rallied to help. How can we express our deepest appreciation? We pay it forward at every opportunity. Hopefully, someone’s spirit will be lifted by the artwork of kids who understand the depths of losing everything.

Thank you for your effort with the hay trucks. You may never know the impact you’ve had on a soul in despair.

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