Tag Archives: georgia

Albany Strong

27 Jan



I know, I know.  I’ve been MIA for the past few months.  I’ve got the stereotypical excuse of, “I’ve been busy.”  Lame.

But then something happened here where I live in Albany, Georgia.  On January 2nd my family crouched in the hallway while our home and the homes surrounding us were completely obliterated by a tornado and straight line winds of 95 mph.  I don’t really have the words to describe the sound.  The closest thing I can compare it to was the sound of a huge train slamming on it’s brakes before it began tearing up homes.  No one in our community was prepared for what we saw when the sun rose the next day.  The landscape of our entire neighborhood had been forever altered. 100 year old pine trees were uprooted and thrown through houses and laying across yard and streets.

Tornado of 2017 storm26 storm27 storm30 storm42 storm43 storm50 storm53 storm60 storm71 storm84 storm86 storm90


We were shell shocked to learn that it would be several months before we could get back into our home.  For some of our neighbors, it was even worse.  Their houses had to be completely gutted and it’ll be close to a year before they move back home.   But in the midst of this tragedy, something beautiful happened.  My faith in humanity was restored as I watched my community and town come together to help one another in a way that’s indescribable.

That community help continued through sub-zero temperatures while the majority of people had no electricity.  My home still doesn’t have power, and won’t until electrical lines are repaired and rebuilt.  Before the magnitude of our devastation could even register, we learned that there were 3 back-to-back severe storm systems that would be following the same path as before. So on January 22nd, we once again crouched in our safe room, terrified at what the news outlets were predicting.  We heard the tornados tearing up the other side of town.  An hour later, the pictures began to show up.  The damage was so much more than the first round of storms on the 2nd.  Then we started hearing about the casualties and the missing people.  As of today, officials are still searching for a missing 2 year old boy who was separated from his mother during the storm.







We’ve begun the battle of getting FEMA to help us out.  International Crisis Support Teams took one look at our damage and said it was the worst under-reported storm they’d ever seen.  Dougherty County Commission Chairman, Chris Cohilas, has taken up the torch of responsibility and spear-headed the task of getting state and federal leaders to recognize our situation.  He had this to say:

“This has been called by one of the national charities who have responded as the most under-reported disaster they have ever serviced. It is truly a travesty. News media draws resources and volunteers. We have received some great volunteers, but it is not enough. State resources have been provided (and we are very thankful) but they are inadequate to address our community’s needs. If you have the ability to influence media, and or share this information within your spheres of influence, I would ask that you do so. I serve as the County Commission Chair down here, and I have alot of people who are hurting. It is sad.

Our community has gone to social media and posted photos of the carnage. Those photos have been made publicly available. Search by the hashtags #HelpAlbany. Trust me…you will be blown away. Visit my page Chris Cohilas, Dougherty County Commission Chairman and view the damage and the people’s needs.

This disaster struck everyone, poor, rich, black, white, old, and young. It should be noted that we have some of the poorest people in the country that live here as well. The entire community is hurting. The needs are great and changing every day. If you can find a way to help, please do it. If you serve on a charity, please consider steering it our way. If you can steer media coverage down here, do it. If you are in a position to help, please do. We have an Emergency Management Agency which can help coordinate the delivery of those resources. Please call them at 229.483.6226, 6227, or 6228. They will receive your call and gladly coordinate your kindness.”





Crime and Parenting

30 Sep


My ten year old daughter watches the morning news.  I know, I know.  But we drew the line at her drinking black coffee while watching.  That counts for something, right?  If the TV is on cartoons while she’s getting ready, she’ll be like, “Yeah, I’m gonna need the news before we go any further.”  She’s always been a nosy child.  Her Dad and I are always right there to answer any questions she may have.  And trust me.  There have been questions.

But last night I found myself trying to explain capital punishment to her.  The reason being, she caught wind of Kelly Gissendaner’s pending execution.  If you’re unfamiliar with the case, Gissendaner was the only woman on death row here in the state of Georgia.  She was sentenced to death after a jury found her guilty for convincing her lover to kill her husband.  The guy who did the actual stabbing will be up for parole in 2022.  Gissendaner was scheduled to be executed at 7:00 pm last night but her legal team went into an appeal frenzy and the execution wasn’t carried out until 12:21 a.m. this morning.  My kid supported the appealing.  “It’s not fair to die if the other killer guy isn’t dying too.”  Kid rationalizing.

When she asked what capital punishment was, I gave her the whole “eye for an eye” explanation.  But  you could clearly see her trying to process all of the contradictions that surrounded it.  I myself struggle with the whole thing.  I wanted to make sure she understood that legally ending someone’s life was not something to be taken lightly.  It wasn’t Twitter entertainment.  It was also not an excuse to stay up past bedtime.

I questioned my parenting skills when I saw her run to the kitchen for snacks, informing her Dad, “Hey man, I gotta go.  This whole peeling process is heating up.”  We told her it was bedtime.  She told us there was one more appeal pending in the U.S. Supreme Court.  We said we didn’t care.  She said we should.  We said we were the boss.  She said she had a right to an appeal.

While most days I completely fail at parenting, this morning I’m fairly sure I made a good parenting choice when I decided not to say, “Hey, they executed that woman last night” on the way to school.

Don’t judge me.

3rd Grade Lunch Bag Countdown: 18 More Days

23 Apr

Field trip to the Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola!


3rd Grade Lunch Bag Countdown: 21 More Days

17 Apr

…and the last day of Georgia Milestone testing!


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