Nosy college kids learn important lessons

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Remembering when events happen has always been an interesting process for me.

I’ve always had what I thought of as some of the craziest ways to remember what month things take place in.

It might be a certain story that had taken place that we ran in the newspaper.

On Monday, I was at home with a sick child and was scrolling through Facebook when one of my friends made a post that reminded me Sunday had been the eight-year anniversary of the Enterprise High School tornado.

My mind took me back eight years, when several days after the tornado, I hopped into a car with two of my aspiring photojournalist friends and made the 35-mile journey from Troy to Enterprise to capture the destruction.

We had read accounts of online coverage from various news outlets, with survivors describing it as “a big explosion.”

I really don’t think any of the three of us was ready for the destruction we found.

We didn’t know any of the people affected by the storm. Heck, I’m not even sure we had any friends from Enterprise.

Nevertheless, our first stop was a neighborhood down Hwy 27.

That’s the first time I saw real emotion out of my two photojournalist friends, who like most college guys, always tried to be so macho.

We all had the same reaction.

It looked like a war zone.

The looks on the faces of the residents of the neighborhood were something else a trio of wet-behind-the-ears college students was not ready for either.

There was sadness, but thankfulness in the eyes of these residents.

We talked to one resident who said something, very profound and that has stuck with me.

He said that despite the circumstances they found themselves in, they had not reason not to be filled with gratitude. They were one of the blessed ones, who still had all of their family intact, and that it could have been so much worse.

That was from a person who had only days earlier lost the roof over his head, but he did not lose the irreplaceable.

For the three of us, it was our first time covering tragedy of that magnitude. It was our first time covering a natural disaster, but I think we each learned far more than just skills for our careers.

We saw residents humbly stand on faith that better times were ahead, despite the trials and tribulations immediately in front of them.

Talking to my friends throughout the last eight years, it was a lessen each of us needed to learn. It was a lesson each of us would need to know in some form or fashion in the years to come.

I think life is funny that way sometimes. We were just three nosy college kids looking to build a portfolio, but our trip taught us so much more.