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Esther Apter Returns from Alabama

There have been so many natural disasters and sad stories lately and I felt helpless to do anything other than be sad for the people that were affected. Then my daughter Miriam got a job with Nechama – a disaster relief organization. Miriam suggested that I take some time to help with the cleanup. I thought it was a great idea and decided to go and sponsor some employees for an almost three day trip. I offered it to everyone in the company and asked them to write a brief description of why they wanted to come and do the work and I would chose two based on their motivation. Dianna and Krista were chosen to join me on the trip and off we went.

When we arrived we were asked to help a single mom in a bad living situation, with one day to move her and her daughter’s stuff from her previous dwelling to a new apartment. The woman was not actually affected by the tornado; however, she was somewhat handicapped from an accident and really could not do this on her own. A group of volunteers helped her pack up her belongings and furniture and move it all to the new apartment. She was so grateful and said she could not have done it without us. Hopefully she and her daughter can now start building their lives.

The second and third day we were taken to a site of a house that had been severely damaged by the tornado and needed to be torn down. From what I understand there are only two ways to get the debris removed and the property cleaned up. Either pay a demolition crew (if you can afford it) or move the debris to the front of the property, I think it has to be no further than 12ft from the road, and then the town removes it. The owner of the house could not afford the demolition crew and was not able to tear down the house and move the debris to the appropriate location. So for the first time in my life I got destructive and worked on demolishing this house. It was tedious hard work in 100 degree weather and much of the work was in the sun! We pulled off siding, sledged hammered through walls, demolished a fire place brick by brick, bought down walls and took everything we tore off the house to the appropriate location where it will eventually be removed by the town.

While it did not make me less sad for all the devastation and heartache the people affected have to go through, and we only got through demolishing half of the house, we did what we could and every little bit helps…

Seeing the devastation and working with Nechama and other volunteers who devote time to helping others made me feel that there are truly good and awesome people in this world and I was honored to be amongst them. We at MedFORCE have always taken pride in our high level of ethics in how we conduct our business and it makes me so proud that we were able to add this experience to some of our employees and allocate some money and resources to help people who need our help. I can’t image a more powerful team building exercise than working together out in the hot sun, getting filthy, sweating and using muscles I did not even know I had helping other people as a volunteer! Dianna, Krista and I are now bonded for life!!! I am so proud of them and how hard they worked! We at MedFORCE are happy to feel we have truly made a difference… a small one, but a difference none the less…



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