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Editorial: Tragedy has a way of opening our eyes

Isn't it a shame that sometimes it takes a tragedy to open our eyes?

The tornado that left a swath of destruction in its wake through the towns of Martell and Gilman Wednesday, June 28 could have been much worse. Someone could have died; luckily, no one did. It's amazing with how quickly the storm swooped in, only one concussion and a few scrapes were tallied.

Trees that once stood guard over farms and country roads were leveled in a second. Century-old barns were razed. The wind tore siding, bricks and whole garages off homes like a child rips wrapping paper off a present. Except instead of a gift, what was left behind was devastation, sadness and loss, not to mention mountains of debris. Where to begin?

As reporters swarmed the countryside, not eager in the fact that tragedy struck, but hoping to tell the stories of those who survived, they noticed something. At many homes, it was less than a matter of minutes, hours before yards were flooded with volunteers wanting to help clean up.

One reporter remarked a driveway lined with trucks stunned him; it was hard to tell a storm had come through a mere 24 hours prior due to hyper-speed cleanup efforts. Granted, a truck was sucked through a wall at that property, but the yard was quickly losing its blanket of destruction.

When tragedy strikes, one thing is sure in Pierce County: neighbors help neighbors. People help strangers. We become a team.

As one woman told her story, she was just thrilled to be alive. Hallelujah, her life was spared. That and remarkably, her fine china. It's these kind of stories that need to be told. Sheer joy and gratitude, a renewed thankfulness for life.

The next time you're having a woe-is-me kind of day, think about what you have to be grateful for. Number one on that list should be your life. Because as we saw this week, it could be snatched from you in an instant. Luckily, this time, no one's was.

And keep in mind, not everyone has a gaggle of helpers to remedy a bewildering mess of debris. If you haven't already, reach out to someone who may need some help. And who knows, maybe you'll make a new friend.

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