For those of you old enough, all I had to do was say 9/11, and I’m sure you remember exactly where you were that tragic day in our Nation’s history. My name is Tim Maudlin and for myself, and those in my community, all I had to say is March 2nd, 2012 because on that day we remember when a tornado hit our hometown. On this anniversary of that day, I’ve been remembering a lot. I remember taking the day off so my wife could go to a women’s retreat. I remember being excited because I was going to spend the day with my boys. I remember waking up and turning the TV on, only to see the weather channel anchors in our area because they fully anticipated a tornado outbreak. It wasn’t if, it was when.
I remember thinking back to my childhood in 1974 because on that day that was the first time I’d ever experienced tornadoes. I remember taking my boys to lunch and then coming home, and when we got out of the car I remember the chill in the air and thinking it wasn’t going to be long. I remember telling the boys, “When the sirens go off, we’re going to have to leave.” I remember when the warnings were issued, I told the boys it was time to go. We had to get to our safe place. I remember driving a mile and half from our house to where I am right now. And I remember looking over my shoulder to the blue sky you’re seeing today looking for that tornado. I remember not seeing it. I also remember looking more to the west around the corner of the building and there it was.
I remember that sinking feeling that I had because I just thought I had killed my boys. I remember taking a quick picture of the tornado before we ran downstairs. I remember waiting, and waiting, and waiting for the building to be hit. After several minutes I remember going outside and hearing sirens everywhere. I remember going home so I didn’t get in the way. The first responders were doing amazing work, coming on the scene and helping those who had been impacted. I remember trying to get information, but it was hard to at that time. I remember going to bed that night feeling helpless because I hadn’t done anything. I hadn’t helped anyone. I remember right before I went to sleep of an idea. And I remember getting up the next day and calling my dad and telling him what that idea was. An idea that maybe we could help those who had been affected by the tornado.
Over the next days I would like to share that idea with you and the lessons I learned from it. But on this day, on this anniversary, March 2nd, it’s important to remember those who were impacted. Those who had property damage. Those who were injured, and sadly, those who were killed. March 2nd is an important day in our community. A day we will never forget. So I hope you’ll share this with your friends and think about this day. I’ll be back to share some more ideas with you and the lessons I learned. Thank you.