Thursday, May 26, 2011

Webb City Sentinel column - 5/27/11

We are trying to bring some normalcy to the community by continuing to hold the market at its regular times. The produce is bountiful though we are all suffering losses. I will share one that has deeply saddened us at the market.

Donna Krudwig is one of our volunteer managers. If you eat lunch at the market on Tuesdays, you likely have seen her supervising the lunch volunteers. Her daughter, Bethany, lived in the path of the tornado. Bethany and her husband, Don, only had time to grab some pillows to cover themselves before climbing into the bathtub. Don lay on top of Bethany, shielding her with his body. The pillows, of course, were torn away, along with most of the house.

The winds finally ceased, only to be followed by heavy hail. Bethany, dazed, crawled out of the tub to seek shelter, thinking that Don would be right behind her. She crawled into the neighbor’s fireplace, the only shelter remaining, and then realized that Don was still in the bathtub. He was gravely injured but she couldn’t lift him out of the tub, much less get him to the hospital with no means of transportation. So she ran to 20th street and flagged down a vehicle. She found a policeman at Rangeline but all he could do was call in the injury. She knew Don was too seriously hurt to wait, so she ran out into Rangeline and flagged down a truck. They fought their way through downed trees and power lines, getting within a block of what remained of their home. But she found Don had already died, one of their dogs lying protectively beside him.

Don died a hero, saving his young wife’s life by shielding her with his own body. Bethany is a living hero, overcoming stunning horror to seek help for her young husband.

We all feel so helpless. Today we went through the six garbage sacks of items salvaged from the house by Bethany’s friends – all soaking wet, mostly ruined - but her friends had to do something even if it was to gather a stuffed bear, a soaked high school annual, a ruined book of lyrics. Bethany’s few salvaged pieces of clothing have been lovingly washed at other homes and returned neatly folded to her.
Bethany is surrounded by friends and family but she has lost her husband and virtually everything she owned.

Don was a machinist so the last few years have been hard as business slowed to a snail’s pace. Money was already tight, too tight for life insurance so Bethany also faces starting over with the debt of funeral expenses. A fund has been set up to help her and we will have a donation jar at the market today for our market friends who would like to help. If you can’t make it to the market but would like to help Bethany, go to: facebook

We will also have donation jars for many of the agencies that are working toward recovery – United Way, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, Children’s Haven and the Animal Adoption and Resource Center. There will be jars for Band Together, the effort organized by the Webb City High School band for the Joplin High School Band, for the Missouri Southern Foundation assisting affected students and faculty, for the Missouri Press Association helping affected newspaper employees and for the Missouri Hospital Association helping affected hospital employees.

We’re doing this because there is a great need among us to help. Our vendors donated such a mass of produce and baked goods Tuesday that the Salvation Army was hard pressed to find storage space for all of it. Fresh produce is not normally accepted in emergencies but we have found the Salvation Army knows how to handle it – and they were delighted to receive it though I’m pretty sure they don’t need any additional deliveries for a while so we will focus on collecting money.

Today’s lunch is spaghetti with meat sauce, side salad, garlic bread, cake and drink for $6. There will be a luncheon salad for $4. The Plainsfolk will perform.

On Saturday breakfast will be served from 9 to 11 and will benefit Healing the Family counseling center. This Joplin non-profit works to prevent child abuse. The Joplin Exchange Club provides the volunteers Saturday.

Music will be by Robert Bruce Scott, an operatic tenor from Indianapolis. He sings songs in over 20 languages and that span 2000 years. He plays a variety of instruments including Celtic harp and classical guitar. We were able to book Robert because he has concerts in Tulsa and St. Louis and loves farmers markets. He should feel right at home with us.

Tuesday’s Cooking for a Cause benefits the Kids Community Garden.