The tornados that ripped through the nation’s south and mid-section in April and May were not only record-setting in scale and scope, but in terms of loss of life, and, I suspect, loss of innocence.
The tornados that ripped through the nation’s south and mid-section in April and May were not only record-setting in scale and scope, but in terms of loss of life, and, I suspect, loss of innocence. Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to those survivors who must cope with their losses now and must face a lifetime of healing.
Buildings and infrastructure can be rebuilt, but rebuilding the lives of people who have survived the terror of a near-death experience like a tornado will take years. And some will never heal completely.
Now, while dealing with very real losses in human terms, the survivors must summon the strength to deal with the rebuilding process while they somehow try to proceed with their lives, which includes going to work and raising children and now trying to help others who may be even less fortunate.
It was a cruel twist of fate that dealt a pair of blows to roofing manufacturer, TAMKO Building Products. The storms that ripped through Alabama on April 27, 2011 did significant damage to the TAMKO roofing plant there. Then a few short weeks later, TAMKO’s hometown of Joplin, Missouri was hammered by another fierce, record-setting, tornado. While a reported 25 percent of the town was decimated, the TAMKO facilities consisting of manufacturing, distribution, and corporate offices were all spared.
Thankfully all of their people survived both storms. But living in Tuscaloosa and Joplin meant that nearly everyone there was affected as friends, neighbors, and family members were not all so fortunate. So TAMKO, a family business, has responded with significant gifts to the American Red Cross to aid in the recovery of both cities.
I speculate that it is just the beginning of the financial aid and sweat equity they will contribute that will never be reported.
The people of these communities, including our brethren with TAMKO Building Products, will spend years working overtime to rebuild. People from surrounding communities have been pitching in from the very beginning to help with the clean-up efforts. The Federal Government (all of us) has pledged assistance “…for as long as it takes to rebuild”. So it will be done, but it will not be easy.
I would not wish this kind of tragedy on any person, group of persons, or community. But it appears that the storms have stricken communities that are up to the challenges they must now face. And of all roofing companies to be slammed with damage and destruction in two communities in which they operate and call home; this family-owned and operated business seems somehow uniquely qualified to bear up to it. As a testimony to that, TAMKO announced this week that the Tuscaloosa plant was back up and fully functional less than one month after the storm. Amazing, but not surprising.
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By Rick Damato
Rick Damato is the editorial director of Roofing Contractor. He has held a number of posts in the roofing industry since 1974 and has contributed to the magazine since its inception in 1981. He can be reached at 770-331-7858 or on Twitter @RoofsByRick.