Today’s turning point story is written by Natasha Colkmire, special markets national sales manager for Motel 6. In Natasha’s spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering at her church, working out through running, yoga and rock climbing.
April 27, 2011, is a day that I will never forget. It was the day that my small town, Ringgold, Ga., was torn apart by an F-4 tornado.
I had heard there were tornadoes hitting the south, and that they were moving my way. I went to my mom’s house since both my husband and my dad were out of town. It was just me, my mom and my little sisters, Makayla (14) and Malia (6). We had discussed that if the storm got really bad, we would move under the house into the crawlspace. Around 8 p.m., my mom opened the door and told me to come and look at the sky. She was looking up and to the right. As I approached the door, the wind picked up. Our power had just gone out and it was very dark and hard to see. I looked up and over to the left, and then I saw it. The tornado was only about a half-mile away from us and headed in our direction. I started screaming for my mom to get the girls underneath the house. Once we were in the crawlspace, we just kept praying for our own safety as well as our friends and neighbors.
Finally, we decided to get out and assess the damage. Nothing could have prepared us for what we saw. The tornado did not actually come into our subdivision, almost as if the gates that surround us would not let it in. Everything else was destroyed though. The whole town was just mangled as if it were a piece of paper that had been balled up and thrown away.
The next few days, week, and months were completely devoted to restoring our community. We helped so many people cut down trees, remove debris from their yards, provide warm meals, and pray for their emotional and physical healings. We felt that since we were so blessed to have been protected by God from the tornado, it was the least that we could do. It wasn’t just us though. There were so many people who were doing the same thing all throughout Ringgold. April 27 was such a terrible day felt by many all over the south; however, you can always find something good out of the bad things that you go through. Just as there are rainbows after a storm (and there was a double rainbow in Ringgold the day after the tornado), something good is to come from trials. In a time of need, our community came together to provide for those who had been effected. Nothing mattered at the time except for caring for each other. We get so wrapped in our day to day life that most of the time, we forget to be a neighbor when we should be caring for one another on a daily basis. I think all were humbled by our experience, those who were helped and those that helped. I know it humbled me.