A symbol of hope: tornado damaged trees on a hill top in Sipsey, Alabama, showing new growth. Sipsey is home for the recipients of the Tornado Bed.
As completion of the Tornado Bed grew closer, I often wondered what delivery day would be like. I had never attempted a project like this: build a bed, search out a needy recipient and deliver it. I really did not know what to expect.
But I did have a vision in my mind how it hopefully would unfold. I pictured a husband and wife gushing with joy that this bed was now theirs. Their two daughters would be all smiles. The family would comment on how sturdy the bed was, the nice overall design, and the warm color of the wood. Something like that.
That isn’t what happened. Remember this bed went to the victims of a horrific situation. The roof of their home had been ripped off by high winds and they lost everything. Their home was damaged to the point that it was no longer a home. It was a wreck, unusable and ruined.
When my father and I arrived with the bed, I began to better understand this family’s situation. I began to leave my world and step into theirs.
Most recently, this family had been living in a tent. The tent had been their home for several weeks. Prior to the tent, they had access to a travel trailer, but as a friend told me, "once football season began the travel trailer was taken back."
Their new home, built with the help of many volunteers, was just that - new; and new is good. But when I stepped inside, reality became even more clear. The father and his daughters had been living there for a period of time with virtually no furniture. The wife was living elsewhere so she could receive care for a second recurrence of cancer.
As the family began stirring on that Saturday morning, I could see what looked like mattresses lying directly on the floor in one bedroom. I had built one bed for them, but they also needed two more.
We began carrying the bed inside and I realized that snapping pictures of the event was simply not appropriate. I handed them a comforter donated by my mother along with an afghan blanket she had hand knitted for them.
It was a very humbling moment. The recipients of the Tornado Bed were very appreciative of what had been made for them. I had hoped throughout this project that I would find a family who really needed this bed, and I did - their need was great. I pray for the wife in her fight with cancer and it is my sincere hope that life for this family continues to return to some semblance of normalcy (in the days that followed, more donated furniture was delivered by others to help fulfill this family's needs).
Delivery brings to a close what has to be the most rewarding project I have ever tackled. My sincere thanks go out to everyone who donated money to this effort. I want to say thanks to those who spoke a supportive word or two as this build slowly progressed.
I also want to recognize Restore Sipsey, an organization which co-ordinated the construction of three new homes in the Sipsey, Alabama area. Read more about this organization by clicking here. It was through my local church that I came in contact with Restore Sipsey and the family which the bed was donated to.
This was a fun project and very, very special. I plan to build additional disaster related furniture in the future.
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