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Biggest asset is experience

April 2008 started off like just about any other year. It marked a warming trend, had random rain showers and storms mixed in with beautiful, sunny days.

Before the month would end though, the community’s psyche was shaken as a tornado ripped through a portion of the city on Monday, April 28. It destroyed homes, cars and businesses, but thankfully, did not destroy any lives.

That day proved just how strong the Suffolk community is, as every person rallied around their neighbors offering support, food, lodging and prayers.

Local civic clubs and charitable organizations rallied to fill in where governmental responses couldn’t.

On that day, Suffolk responded and survived and has since thrived.

But as we approach the second anniversary of that horrifying day, we should take note that we were lucky. No lives were lost as a result of that tornado, but that may not be the case next time.

Thanks to efforts on the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, every resident has the information necessary to be better prepared if such an event was to ever take place again.

At the department’s Web site, www.readyvirginia.com, you can find a checklist of items necessary in creating a well-stocked tornado kit, tips on how to stay informed and advice on what to do in the event of a tornado striking your area.

The checklist includes such things as important as necessary medicine to as mundane as a manual can opener for food. It suggests having such things as crucial as clean water to the essential items of flashlights and fresh batteries.

There are areas in this world that have not had to face such an event as the April 2008 tornado, but we have. We have the experience to know what is needed to respond to such a tragedy and the knowledge to be better prepared.

Suffolk knows what its like to be brought to its knees by Mother Nature. We have it seen it many times. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t be ready for when Mother Nature comes calling.