The one thing that sucks about the Ozarks…

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There’s only one thing that sucks about living in the Ozarks…Tornadoes.

The loss of life is always devastating. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a single life or in the hundreds like on Sunday night, May 22nd, 2011 in Joplin. With those directly impacted, the emotional scars heal over time – but those scars will always be visible…pulsing on the surface.

The wounds from mere property damage…from vehicles being crushed to complete destruction of homes and businesses – these cuts heal as well, but change the landscape…physically and emotionally.

Least importantly – yet significant in its impact – is the financial effect these storms have. Not just on those directly hit by the twisters and straight-line winds…the financial impact hits EVERYONE within at least 100-miles. (Maybe even further). I’m talking about the obvious, like temporary job-loss…to the unseen financial burdens that appear over time.

We learned of one of those new financial burdens yesterday – a morning when severe weather claimed two more lives, injured dozens and damaged millions of dollars worth of property from Barry County to Branson to Dallas County and on back to Dade…

Our home insurance provider – after paying millions in claims after Joplin’s tornado last year – has decided to pull-out of the HOME insurance market altogether. I worry about those families who don’t have a great local agent like we do – looking out for us – preparing us for a transition to higher premiums on ALL of our insured property through another company.

Here’s the thing, though – I don’t bring this up with anger…or with a spirit of victimization. I’m not rabidly hunting justice because I’m getting screwed! That’s not how we do things in the Ozarks – ever.

There’s an over-riding spirit here – both faith based and secular – of independent strength, determination and compassion. That spirit is what makes people love living here. If you were born and raised here – and wind up somewhere else down the road…typically, you wind up back. If you’re a newcomer – you know deep down you’ll always be an outsider…but because of the spirit, mentality and kindness of people – the tug to stay always feels a little stronger than the tug to leave.

The Ozarks presents a quality of life forged in people – not industry and money. And that makes every neighbor RESPECT the one thing that sucks about life in the Ozarks…but not fear it. When you have a legitimate culture of COMMUNITY, and know you can count on it – a tornado’s going to have to kill you…to take you away from HOME.