My Prime Time Television Debut
First published January 14, 2012
So I guess I didn't realize how excited I was about the Joplin EHMO episode tonight. About 6:58 I was fine, then it started, shots of the tornado and of course the stories...by 7:05 I was a bawling mess.
When we were down there, we knew we were working on a single mothers house who had one son. I had heard a rumor the mother had lost a child but, they didn't give us any details.
So, hearing her story and the story of the mother who lost 2 of her children was heart-wrenching. To make it worse, they mentioned one little boy was six years old.
While their stories were so gut wrenching, I thought about the old lady I met during this trip. She sat every day across the street from the build site and watched. She told us the spectator area was on top of where her house was. She had her granddaughter and sister with her (her only family) Her granddaughter (6 or so) dug in the dirt for anything that may be hers as she told me the story. She found a key and was certain it was her grandmas. The woman was happy for all the families who were getting the houses but wanted to know what made them all more special than her? She rode out the storm in the tub covering her granddaughter. She lost everything and was living in a FEMA trailer north of Joplin. I sadly understood. While happy for the families tonight, I was so sad for people like her who had no home, no job and no other family.
So, back to my TV debut. If you saw me, awesome! I didn't think I'd be on. I stood behind the camera. I'm crippled by stage fright so, I was happy to be in the back. If you saw me, did you notice the lack of enthusiasm? Yep, it was written all over my face. 4 hours of reshoots, act happier, cry again for a close-up, all while herded like cattle into a hot tent had brought me way down. And for what? 15 seconds of air time. 50 or more perfectly great and eager volunteers wasting time standing around. I wish I would have walked out. However, I had a critical job to do. Cut yarn. Cut, yarn. Need yarn cut? Call me; I'm a professional. I was given lessons, by at least five different producers & Ty Pennington.
After all, is said and done, I was pretty excited to see myself. I saw my hands first. I was content with that. I yelled, look, my hands, that's my bracelet and ring! (lame I know) Then my sweet side view with my happy face and DC. We do not have DVR, so it went fast, but I was pretty excited. Hubbs was in the background too, so it was pretty cool to see. My awesome friend DVR'ed it, so she sent me a pic and again, all was right with the world.
So, I'm proud of the work I did. I worked hard. If you know me, you know I'm lazy and hate the heat. Well, I worked nearly 7 hours, hard labor in 90-degree heat. I rode home with my eyes closed from the intense heat headache. I couldn't eat the rest of the night because of a headache and the intense smell of decay and earth stuck in my nose. I felt nauseous for two days after. So all in all, I worked myself sick. And I would do it every day for weeks if I had the chance to.
Besides my son, it's been the most rewarding thing I've ever done or been a part of. I hope anyone who reads this will volunteer for something like this if ever given a chance. God forbid anything else like this happens again. But, do it if given a chance. The rewards are so huge. The feeling of helping someone when they have nothing is incredible!
We went the first time days after the tornado. Less than four months later Hubbs had his accident. About six weeks after the accident I drug him to back to Joplin. I needed out of the house and near people. We love the city and people, and We needed something positive. The people of Joplin will never know how much we needed them at that point and how much they helped us during such a low, emotional point.
We drove our vehicle from our home, leaving our healthy child and possessions. We were broken, sad and tired. When we left after two days, we were thankful, humbled and had our eyes wide open.
In a few months, we are headed back to Joplin. A city that keeps pulling us back. We have had so many offers from people we met and some we didn't but read my article who want us to stay with them. The calls, cards, letters, and emails remind us that people are thankful and we want to help until everything is cleaned up.
I wrote my stories, share my love of Joplin, and photos of the devastation hoping my son will follow our lead.
I watched him hold a door open for an old lady with a walker the other day, and that's why I will continue to volunteer to help others.