A disc golfer's personal look at the tornado damage

6/13/2011 by John Borelli

One of NEFA's original members, Davis Johnson, posted this on the boards recently. Thanks for sharing, Davis.

Post 1
Thank you for the focus on Monson, as well as Brimfield in this disc golf raffle. The First Church-- the one with the downed steeple-- has been at the heart of mobilization for tornado relief-- a real positive note to very sad circumstances. The church has been a town institution for far longer than we have been here generously hosting scout troops which our sons have belonged to, among many other community activities. The vast number of volunteers who have rallied at this miraculously spared town icon-- aside from the steeple the structure fared well-- have efficiently dispensed all manner of goods and services, not only in town but to surrounding communities including Springfield.

Probably a lot of you have seen the nearly 40 mile scar in sateIlite pictures. This traces the paths of many of our lives, our back and forth daily commutes, kid pickups, school drop offs, shopping expeditions, etc. I have been familiar with tornado and other weather disasters all my life through news accounts and some limited first hand experience. But to actually experience the daily byways, neighborhoods passed through, favorite trees, friends' homes you've socialized in, fields where your kids have competed, shady town centers with Fourth of July parades, art festivals... how quickly these can all fade to memory... There will be rebuilding and the pageantry and festivals will return, but under a hot sun and much bigger skies than we're used to here in New England.

I was looking at pictures of Joplin, Missouri the other day which looks like Hiroshima after the bomb. Joplin isn't just some obscure town in a flyover state anymore...

Thank you again, NEFA, for your generous support for a lot of hurting people.

Post 2

A big thank you to the once again, Big Hearted generosity of NEFA! We were not, thankfully, directly affected by the tornado, but as you all know our beautiful downtown is stricken, along with many other areas in the path of the storm. Ever since, I've been living in another world-- I can't think of the last time in decades when anything disc related has been further from my mind.

It's as if some mad engineer roughed out a path for a new 10 lane highway all the way from The Connecticut River to Sturbridge, a tangled path which passes about two miles from my home. The magnitude of power and destruction is simply unimaginable until witnessed first hand, and I've watched a lot of tornado videos. There is the odd experience of emerging from the tree shaded serenity of a rural New England town-- and suddenly encountering a stricken world of sunlit violence-- and the weirdness of being able to go back and forth between both worlds.

My life has become a familiar routine of doing volunteer work where ever needed for tornado relief. The First Church of Monson, the one that got its steeple blown off-- has from the start been the command center of relief efforts with supplies of all sorts pouring in from all over. It is in a time like this that relationships built up over years of living in a small town pay off. Old bonds get strengthened, and new bonds get forged. The urge of people to help is almost as powerful as the needs of people for assistance.

Monson of course, is altered forever, as are all of the communities in the path of "The Beast". The loss of trees is heartbreaking, and these will take generations to replace. But it's a miracle that only one resident died-- an elderly woman of a heart attack upon witnessing the post tornado carnage, .

But what has emerged proves that even out of such disaster, blessings can come. Now if only we can find a way to bottle
this vintage batch of human spirit, and drink it toast by toast...

Thank you again, NEFA!


by David Kardynal on 6/20/2011 at 2:49:55 PM
Monson is my home town. Missed my old mans condo by an eighth of a mile. The town of monson is so thankful as you can see the signs when you drive R-32 in and out of monson.

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