Alpharetta Teen Organizes Big-Time 'Bama Relief
University of Alabama student uses Facebook, friends' email contacts to fill a tractor trailer.
This afternoon rain fell on Tuscaloosa and other tornado ravaged parts of Alabama and Georgia, adding an urgency to the relief work James O'Dywer and many new-found acquaintances are doing.
O'Dwyer said tarps have become a major necessity as those Tuscaloosa residents who have a home still standing have structural damage, including missing roofs or even first and second floors.
The University of Alabama freshman returned from delivering a cargo van of supplies only to watch his efforts grow to a large degree, getting too big for his home. Home Depot on Windward Parkway offered space, a trucker her rig and the trailer leasing company a large trailer.
All day long people drove up to the collection point in front of the home improvement store. And volunteers who never knew O'Dwyer before today helped unload the cars, SUVs and pickup trucks. Once that was done, the donations had to be sorted and labeled. They promise to stay at the site as late as 8 or 9 p.m. on Tuesday.
While others were donating water, diapers, shoes, tarps and other necessities, Tina Vickery Medina stepped in big time. She donated a truck, or at least the use of hers. And she'll drive the truck and the trailer that's use was donated as well, to deliver the donations.
When Medina was asked via Facebook to donate her truck to the cause, she said she gladly stepped in.
"I've been driving for eight years," she said, in the 48 continental states.
Driving from Alpharetta to Tuscaloosa is no big deal to her.
It's pretty much like going to town to buy groceries," was how Medina described the upcoming trip.
"This is the first time I've done anything like this," she said, but Alabama is her home state.
When she saw the damage done by tornadoes, she hoped it wasn't real. She got a glimpse of the damage when she came through Birmingham Monday night.
"It was like it was just off a movie show," she said.
Now that she's helping, Medina feels proud, but said she's doing the right thing.
"This is what we are supposed to do. We're supposed to join together and help each other out," she said.
"I am just amazed at him. He is really young. And it just amazes me all these younger generations is doing this," she said.
Medina is driving her semi to haul the 53-feet, 101-inch trailer.
The donations were only about a fourth of a truck by early afternoon.
"We can handle more, a lot more," she said.
Megatrux Transportation donated the use of the trailer.
Roswell Woman Lets Victims Put Best Foot Forward
Sharon Welch of Roswell is from Tuscaloosa, but she's been in Roswell for the past 27 years. Before the tsunami hit Japan, she had a dream in which she was collecting shoes. In that dream she said "Soles4Shoes" was prominent, but when she woke up she didn't know what it was all about. So she Googled it, finding out it's a charitable organization that collects shoes for the needy all over the world.
By the time tornadoes ripped apart Tuscaloosa and other parts of Alabama and Georgia, Welch's collection was fairly large. She had planned to take the shoes to Soles4Shoes' Roanoke, AL, location in a few weeks. But when she heard about O'Dwyer's latest relief drive, she called Soles4Souls to let them know she'd be taking the shoes to Alpharetta for distribution, instead.
Her only regret was that she couldn't fit all of the shoes in her car, so she was pleased to hear O'Dwyer planned to be back at the Home Depot parking lot on Saturday to collect more donations.