Archived Story

Freeborn County continues to recover

Published 7:19am Friday, June 17, 2011

Column: Thanks for Listening

In Joplin, Mo., the toll has risen to 153 people since May 22 who have lost their lives because of the tornado that devastated this city.

As I read about and watch the people battle back from losing it all, I could not get the thoughts of what Freeborn County went through last year on June 17, 2010, out of my mind.

To see people lose their jobs and homes in a matter of hours are almost too much to bear.

What always amazes me in the cruelest of life’s moments is that there is always someone who stands up and refuses to be humbled by the hand that is dealt to him or her to be played. They stand up and step forward and they start to pick up some clothes on the ground. They then start to organize a spot for the family to gather.

The next step is usually accepting some help from a neighbor, who has stopped by with some sandwiches. It is this slow process of rising to their feet that is the part that I love about humanity. Standing up and refusing to be crippled by the surrounding devastation. It is never a huge, loud step, but rather a very small step that just sort of builds into many little steps that soon over time yells out; I will not lose this battle. I am stronger than you. It may take months or years, but this is my home and I will fight for it.

What Joplin and our very own Freeborn County have in common is what some will call grit. I call it determination, and it is the foundation of facing adversity head on and making a come back. This week, the Albert Lea Tribune tips its hat to everyone who battled tornadoes a year ago tomorrow.

In our daily editions starting on Sunday, June 12, we have looked back at the people, places and events that unfolded last year. We have come along way, and I am so proud to say that we are not done yet.

To the people of Joplin, you have our prayers and our best wishes for a steady recovery period that helps you grow stronger in the faith of your neighbors and in the good of what people become when faced with misfortune. We too wish for you to look back in a year and see progress.

By the way …

Good luck to the Knights Baseball Club this weekend and next as they host their fifth annual baseball tournament. Go Knights!

One more thing

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love you.

Tribune Publisher Scott Schmeltzer’s column appears every Thursday.