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Survival, Strength, Resilience, Empathy, Love

Great stories of survival, strength, resilience, empathy and love are still surfacing from Joplin, Missouri. CNN has published a wonderful article on this topic. It has the stories that give you strength, while feeling sorry for the victims. It embeds the horror caused by disaster, in a very impressive way, at the same time. Please, don’t forget to donate and help the families that are in dire need for help. Here are some stories related to the deadliest tornado recorded in U.S. history: “Erin Mason had been in her kitchen gossiping with a few friends, laughing, seasoning green beans. We have storms here all the time,” she thought. Down Mason’s street, past several yellow and blue clapboard houses, Jared Hatfield welcomed people to his open house. The 30-year-old roofer had no delusions about the market, but he felt optimistic. Just to the north along Joplin’s Main Street, Zach Tusinger could see the entire city from the rooftop of his downtown loft. “Awesomeness” he posted on Facebook, along with a photo of a big black blob and a bright, freaky light menacing the skyline. Back at Mason’s house, the food out, the burgers almost done, “I always watched my mom do this when I was growing up and this is what you just did,” she said. She had laid the last blanket when the sky turned black. 5:17 p.m. ‘Something’s coming’ About a mile from Mason’s house, Janece Crosthwait was on her couch, watching some lazy Sunday show on cable. “I thought, ‘I better get on my shoes.” “Get under the stairwell,” he ordered his wife, their grown daughter and son-in-law. “Something’s coming.” While the sirens blared, Tusinger left his downtown rooftop perch and was running down the stairs of his building. He stood for a moment on the ground floor, heard the wind roar and thought, “This is stupid, this isn’t going to protect me.” “Garbage cans were flying in the air down the street but nobody stopped partying,” he said. A few streets away, a newly married couple, Joe and Michelle Dixon, were speeding away from Joplin. “I just hated the way things were looking so I knew we had to hurry up,” Joe Dixon said. ‘We were flying’ A second siren went off. “Get in the bathtub now!” someone shouted to Erin Mason. “I was waiting for something to stab us or for a car to fall on us,” she said. Five seconds ticked by. “Hope left me,” she said. The baby. Jared Hatfield and his girlfriend, Alexandra, went to Sophie when the second siren sounded. At the Crosthwait’s house, Janece Crosthwait had obeyed her husband’s command to take cover. “We were being pelted with tree leaves, rain, pop, pop, popping everywhere,” she said. It was like a car crash, she said. And that might come close to what it felt like when Erin Mason crashed into the ground, the weight of a bathtub and four adults on top of her. Mason pushed half of the cracked tub off her. Mason’s boyfriend, Shawn, stood and hoisted his baby girl. He put his face to hers, his eyes to her eyes. “Dah-dah?” he said. “Dah-dah,” Isabella answered. He grabbed a blanket and threw it over her head and started running down what little was left of their street. Memory fails Erin Mason at this point. She saw a man, a woman and their young son straggling up the street, bloodied. “I felt so bad for them,” she recalled. Fueled by adrenaline Zach Tusinger, his downtown loft unscathed, didn’t wait to be sure the tornado had passed. He jogged past the foundation where the Dixons’ house used to be. It was pouring. “It was adrenaline,” he said, that kept him going. He arrived at his grandparents’ house, an old gray clapboard. “When I saw that he was OK, I didn’t want to leave him, but I felt like I had to,” said Tusinger. “I remembered something my aunt said to me a week before,” he said. At what was left of the Crosthwaits’ home, everyone decided it was safe to move away from a small wall under the stairwell. Night passed into day. By the morning, the Dixons — who had reached Carthage and spent the night at Joe’s father’s house — got in their car and drove home. When they reached the edge of their neighborhood, Michelle Dixon put her hand over her mouth. “I just was not prepared to see this,” she said. Joe and Michelle Dixon were driving out of town when the tornado struck; their home was demolished. Michelle started digging first. Wedding dress, wedding dress, wedding dress. The wedding dress, though, was gone.

Erin Mason and Shawn Stephens didn’t want to return home.

They found the cash and the baby pictures, but not the urn.

Around town, chainsaws fired up.

People from across the country spent their own money, took time off from their jobs, to drive to Joplin.

“Better days are coming, Joplin,” read the message scrawled on one out-of-state truck.

Jared Hatfield spent the days after the tornado cutting the uprooted oak in his yard into smaller pieces and talking with an insurance agent about how to deal with an unrecoverable home.

The houses on his block are all marked with an X.

The hands of a clock on a wall had stopped at 5 p.m.”

These stories remind me another article on,

This article was written on an event inspired by the stories of survival and inspiration. The article is dated Oct. 31, 2008. It mentioned:

“A couple of weeks ago we told you about the 4th Annual Art Off The Main Art Show which showcases art  from Africa, the Caribbean, South and Central America and the October 2nd opening night breast cancer awareness gala,  Paint it Pink at the Metropolitan Pavilion.

The host committee of the Paint it Pink gala included Malaak Compton-Rock, philanthropist; Amanda Diva, music artist and VH1′s The Best Week personality; Oliver Orios, visual artist; Kamille E. Wright, healthcare administrator; Reverend Sylvia Kinard-Thompson, professor and social activist; Khadijah Carter, breast cancer survivor and Young Survival Coalition’s (YSC) Diversity Program Manager; Stacey Lewis, YSC’s VP of Programming; Loris Crawford Art off the Main event producer and Grezzol Cathnot, health practitioner.

Okonkwo is inspired by womanhood, which was prevalent in most of his sculptures on display. It is true that our first memories and lessons of survival and empathy mostly come from our mothers.

As a matter of fact, empathy is one the biggest and most precious assets that we possess as an individual, a family, community, nation and living being, in our day to day lives as well as in the times of disasters like this. It is critically important to preserve this asset by teaching it to our children and the younger generations. Remember, we are human, if we feel for all other living beings, including plants and animals, not just for ourselves. While greed, vested interests, bias and prejudice, and religions and ideologies have caused the deadliest wars in our history, it is the passion, love, empathy, care and sense of attachment and belonging and which has helped us to survive throughout the history of humanity. Even for the purpose of tackling the huge challenge of climate change, we all will have to raise ourselves, well beyond the self, selfishness and vested interests, so that we can think, talk, write, communicate and act for the well being and survival of this planet, and everyone and everything on it, for the benefit of our survival and future generations.

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Born in 1964, business owner, from Woodbridge, VA, owns ExcitingAds! Inc. ( and blog ( He was born in Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan. His elementary school was ST. Michael's Convent High School, Mirpurkhas, Sind, Pakistan. Graduated high school from ST. Bonaventure's Convent High School, Hyderabad, Sind, Pakistan. His pre-med college was S. A. L. Govt. College, Mirpurkas, Sind, Pakistan. Graduated from Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, Sind, Pakistan in 1990. Earned equivalency certification from Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, Philadelphia, PA in 1994.

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