The following post was written by Madeleine Hage, 18. Madeleine has been going on relief trips with Headwaters with her family since she was a very young girl.

With each turn, a natural disaster leaves behind a path of destruction. A storm’s destruction doesn’t discriminate. The wake of devastation bridges socio-economic differences, racial differences, and varied religious and spiritual beliefs.

In this way the Moore Oklahoma tornado was like any other natural disaster. The homes of the rich and poor, young and old, religious and non-religious, were all destroyed by this two mile-wide storm.

For me, it’s what the storm didn’t destroy that is even more compelling. Mangled metal poles were twisted around sturdy trees. Completely flattened houses lay in ruins next to structurally stable homes. Survivors told me they could swear the storm jumped to skip certain houses, only to touch down again and destroy others. Whether or not it’s possible for a tornado to behave in such a way, one has to imagine that feelings of anger, jealousy, or even resentment might exist among neighbors. The question “Why me?” had to be haunting those neighbors most affected.  I can only imagine that would be a natural reaction to such a tragic event.

However, this wasn’t what the attitude in Moore.  I have never met more positive, inspiring people than the homeowners with whom we worked in Oklahoma.  From bringing volunteers snacks, to making jokes about their situation, to loaning tools and supplies to their neighbors who still had salvageable homes, I couldn’t believe the generosity and kindness I saw in Moore this past weekend.

There was no anger, jealousy or resentment among neighbors. This show of compassion, kindness, and humor proved my previous assumptions  wrong. Instead, the behavior of the brave people of Moore, Oklahoma after this terrible disaster is a testament to the endurance and resiliency of the human spirit that I will never forget. It was an honor to be among them this past weekend.