Max Plaster's Show-Me State Compassion Alumni Testimonials from Tornado Victims, Volunteers

Max Plaster (89) Senior Network Engineer, Edward Jones St. Louis, Missouri

There are so many people worse off than me.” In the two trips our church group made from O’Fallon, Missouri, to Oklahoma to help, we heard that phrase repeated over and over as we went from house to house offering assistance. 

The statement may be true, but when you are in the remnants of a disaster, everyone needs help. The videos of tornado devastation in the news can never give a true picture. The emotions and the smells and the inexpressible visual chaos become overwhelming.  

After losing their belongings, many people said, “The things can be replaced, but I am so glad that we survived,” though this is not true for everyone. 

I met a teacher who had children in her classroom that didn’t survive. Injured herself and deeply hurting from the loss, she went to stay with family in New England. The stories are heartbreaking. 

Even in the midst of near death, there are people who rise from the chaos. The Barnet family shared the story about a woman and her children who had a flat tire as they were driving away from the tornado. Their car ended up in the ditch in front of the Barnets’ home. Mr. Barnet went to the road and brought the mother, children and their dog into their small shelter just minutes before the tornado hit. All of them survived. People are always thankful when they are helped after the storm, but it is in the midst of the storm when heroes emerge.

Fall 2013

View more stories from the Fall 2013 issue of Vision magazine.