Marvin Olasky

Tornado stories are not happy stories. Among the dead was retired school bus driver Jamie Wright, 55, who had left south Florida a year ago to escape hurricanes. Other victims ranged from a 92-year-old man to 17-year-old Brittany May, who was killed by a falling tree that crushed her bedroom.

Insurers estimated $68 million in damage. One tornado destroyed a church built to withstand a Category 4 hurricane. The wind picked up one tractor-trailer rig and slammed it down on top of another.

But with overwhelming damage came overwhelming grace. One of those helped said, "I have never felt and experienced love like this from total strangers who work for people they have never known."

In huge disasters like Katrina and in relatively small ones -- "only" 20 dead -- like this month's, victims rarely talk about "love" when they are referring to FEMA or other governmental entities. Government certainly has a big role in responding to disaster, but let's not ignore what religious and community volunteers can and will do, especially when encouraged to come forward.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin Olasky is editor-in-chief of the national news magazine World. For additional commentary by Marvin Olasky, visit
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