I’ll never forget April 27, 2011. That was the night that our whole community was twisted and turned upside down. A big black monster (F4 tornado) hit our small town and left it in shambles. That is the first time I really understood how important insurance is to our daily lives. For days I remember hearing the words “life insurance”, “house insurance”, “car insurance”, “health insurance” and even “burial insurance”. It seemed to be the first question you heard asked; ‘Did they have insurance?”. And I’m sad to say, some did not have insurance. I was only 13 at the time, but I learned that having all these insurances was a must in my family and friends lives. The destruction that was left to our town was like watching a movie at the theater. There was no stopping this big black tornado from entering our community. It ripped up miles and miles of trees, picked up cars and houses and spit them out miles away. It even picked up families and tossed them in their neighbor’s yards, leaving some for dead. A tornado that still to this day, likes to appear in our dreams. It was an angry tornado and changed our lives forever.
The big black tornado came with vengeance on a Wednesday night. A night thousands will never forget. Because of technology, we knew it was headed for us. As it entered and exited each town on its journey the media reported deaths and destruction. We all knew it was coming but no one knew what to do except find our “safe spot”. Many were worried about their loved ones, their pets, and their livestock. Our town had never seen a tornado like what was headed our way with 150 – 200 mile an hour winds. It waited till night which made it even worse. Power lines where ripped off the poles and live wires were lying in the roads and amongst the ruble. Only triage and officers were allowed on the roads. This made everyone devastated not knowing if their loved ones had survived the tornado. The big black tornado showed no prejudice. It destroyed everything in its path.
Two days later we rode a route we rode every day. I remember not even knowing whose house was supposed to be where. It was as if I was in a strange land. The tornado had cleared a path a mile wide for over 150 miles and left nothing standing. There were no houses, no businesses, and left the trees looking like toothpicks. If anything was standing the tornado was sure to demolish it by uprooting trees and spitting them out on top of houses. My house was on the outskirts of the tornado but it still sucked our windows out like it was sucking through a straw.
Our community worked together to provide for the ones that the tornado had affected. We turned our school gym into a shelter. We collected household items, cars, blankets, money and even had families living with other families until insurance policies could be evaluated. We had funerals for loved ones. We visited family and friends in the hospital. But most of all our community showed each and every one affected by the tornado that we were stronger than the big black monster. The community would be their insurance until they consulted with their insurance providers.
Lives were changed that night. For the people without insurance, they were left with nothing. For the people with insurance there was a peace of mind knowing things would eventually be alright. This taught our whole community that you cannot take things for granted. Life insurance, house insurance, car insurance, health insurance, and burial insurance is one of the most important purchases to take care of your family. Having insurance is one of the most important decisions one can have to protect their family. Sometimes a monster will present itself as a storm and take everything you have. All types of insurance are worth the price for protection against the storm. Insurance gives peace after the storm.
Since that day, when I hear the word “insurance” I immediately have flashbacks of just how thankful and important it was to my family and community that most had insurance. I am a firm believer that insurance is important in everyone’s life. The big black monster may have thought he could destroy us but because so many had most types of insurance we were able to rebuild our lives and community and be better prepared in case the big black monster returns.
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