Editor’s Note: This is part of our week-long series looking at the stories of people coming together following the tornadoes that hit Arkansas on April 27th.
At 7:06 pm on April 27th a tornado touched down in Western Pulaski County Arkansas. Over an hour and 50+ miles later the tornado tore through several communities, taking over a dozen lives, injuring hundreds, and leaving thousands left unsure of what pieces to pick up next.
It will be months before we understand the real magnitude of the situation, and even then we will never grasp the lasting impact on the communities of Mayflower and Vilonia.
The size of the devastation can feel too big for some of us to take on. Too many needs, too much hurt, too many tears that need crying.
In the middle of disaster something stirs inside a select group of truly special people. They quietly see a problem just big enough for them to contribute. They do so without seeking recognition, because this is not about them. They become bigger than the devastation without asking recognition because it is what needs to be done.
I wanted to take this week to tell a few of those stories as I find them. Not to turn the attention away from the loss and to them, but because we need to know in the middle of death and destruction true goodness can serve as an inspiration.
Lindsay Carter is one of those people.
She woke up Monday morning after watching the destruction the night before and knew she had to do more than just pray about the situation or post about it on Facebook.
“I started getting the kids ready in the morning and realized that I could not just go into work and pretend nothing happened,” Carter tells us. “I got on the computer and set up a GoFundMe account, messaged a few friends to get the word out, and then jumped in the shower. When I got out I had close to $100 in donations.”
Lindsay called into work where she works as a financial advisor and took the day off to help. She immediately began moving into action.
“I had no clue at that point how much or how little I would be able to do, I just wanted to do something. I had absolutely no plan going into the day.”
While donations were rolling in to support her gut decision, she began working contacts. She made a connection through her mother who owns Dizzy’s Bistro in Little Rock with food distribution company Ben E. Keith who donated hundreds of snack boxes and other food items for the first trip.
“We just loaded up a U-Haul and a few trucks and went to the first relief drop site. We had no clue what we were going to do once we got there, I somehow envisioned us pulling and sorting debris all day,” Carter tells us. “We got there and found that only official relief efforts were allowed in, so we gave all our supplies. I even told them to take the truck if they need it, we could always find another way to keep bringing supplies.”
Lindsay made 4 more supply runs after that. She further stretched the funds after Wal-Mart managers at North Little Rock (Chris) and Maumelle (Greg) offered their 10% corporate discounts. Each time they loaded as many shopping carts as possible and filled the U-Haul.
“We were able to make four trips to the main drop sites, to the point where they said they had all the supplies they could use at that point. So then we went to New Life Church because we had more to give,” Carter says. “I wish I could keep doing this all week. Unfortunately I have to work, but at the first opportunity I will be back at it. The response was tremendous, we actually received more donations than we were able to use.
At last check her GoFundMe page had almost $4,000 in donations. Lindsay says she will take any unused donations and donate to other local relief efforts serving the area this week.
You see, real heroes do not have capes, they do not wear masks. They have a U-Haul and a shopping cart. They do not respond to giant beacons in the sky, they follow the path of the greatest need. They do not seek interviews at the Daily Planet, they reluctantly give humble interviews to fake news sites.