Thank those who care
Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, March 12, 2008
By By Adrienne McKenzie
The Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce has done an amazing thing by giving away 130 trees to area residents.
The Chamber received a $2,000 matching grant from the Gulf Coast Resource Conservation and Development Council (RC&D) and with that grant they bought 130 trees and containers to give away to Atmore area residents.
Chamber members devoted their time and energy first of all, acquiring the grant. Executive director Emilie Mims said county extension agent Buck Farrior was also a vital part of receiving the grant. Secondly, Chamber members made sure the trees were at Heritage Park in order to give them away and made sure Farrior was on hand to provide important information regarding planting the trees and taking care of them.
I was not in Atmore when hurricanes Dennis and Ivan struck. Both hurricanes came through south Alabama when I was in school at the University of Alabama, so I was in Tuscaloosa at the time. But, I do remember coming home about a month after Ivan barreled through Brewton, where my parents live, and that drive home was an interesting one. There were so many trees that had fallen down due to Ivan’s force and it made me sad to think of all the destruction that had occurred in my hometown. From what I have heard though, Atmore was hit even harder with both Ivan and Dennis.
I feel bad for those people who stayed here and had to sit through the storms. I remember when Hurricane Katrina hit. I was still in school at Alabama and I was scared out of my mind. Tuscaloosa got hit fairly hard with Katrina, although not nearly as hard as southern Mississippi and Louisiana. I stayed with some of my friends during the “bad” part of the storm and when I got back home a tree had fallen on my power line, leaving me without power for about two weeks.
At first I was angry because, well, I’ve always had electricity to keep me cool or warm and I just had no idea what to do without it.
Needless to say, after I saw on my friend’s TV the devastation and destruction of New Orleans, I shut my mouth and sucked it up quickly. I dealt with having wet hair in class and not having the ability to heat up a microwave dinner. And I had some great friends who would allow me to come over if I needed the comfort of electricity.
I REALLY learned that I did not have it so bad at all when the University’s Recreation Center, where I worked, brought in hundreds of people who were put out of there homes because of Katrina. Those people practically lived in the center’s gym for a few weeks and it was really heart wrenching to see all the children who no longer had any place to call home.
So, as little a gift as a tree may be to some, to places who have been attacked by Mother Nature, it is the best present one may ever receive.
So, next time you see someone affiliated with the Chamber of Commerce, give them a big hug and say thanks for what they have done!
Adrienne McKenzie is managing editor for The Atmore Advance. She can be reached at 368-2123.