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Carl BreedingChaper Article

Chapter Life
Submitted by: JCarl Breeding
Alabama Chapter H

I have heard a lot of talk about "Chapter Life", but never have I heard a definition that resonated with me as a good one. Quite possibly that is because it is different things to different people. I know I can't give a good definition, but from the experiences of the last week, I can give a good example. To some of us it may be as simple as our social circle, to others it may be the group that goes out to eat every week, to still others it may be the group that goes on rides on the weekend. To me and my wife Jan, it is all of that, and more; the Chapter is the family that chose to form.


On Monday, 28 April 2014, a series of seven tornadoes went through Alabama, three of which effected the area of Chapter H. We had a series of texts and emails letting us know everyone's status, and everything was well.... At least until Melissa Rodgers texted that they had just lost power in their storm shelter. As events developed, their house had several trees down in the yard, and against a part on their house, but their next door neighbor, Gene Smith and his wife Kitty (also Chapter H Members) had a tree come down on their roof, collapsing the roof, one wall and the ceiling over where Kitty normally sat to watch TV.

ChapterThe next morning the Chapter family started to pull together to render the aid that was needed, Jan and I got there about 6:45 Tuesday morning and found Roy Painter already there helping Gene Smith. Even with a shed destroyed and trees on his own house, Jerry Rodgers was at Gene's house instead of taking care of his own. We delivered a generator to Jerry, then Jan and I went home and got another for Gene - then Jan had to go to work and I took the generator to Gene's house and pitched in to do what I could to help. Mike and Rita Moore from the Chapter showed up, and a group of Jerry's son's friends all pitched in to help cut up the tree that was on Gene's house so a tarp could be put in place to prevent further damage. There were hundreds of power poles down in the area, and two people were killed within a half mile of their houses, so they were very lucky the damage wasn't worse.

AL-H Tornado workers seated left to right: Gene Smith, Kitty Smith, Jerry Rodgers; standing front to rear: Melissa Rodgers, Carl & Jan Breeding, Carla Cato, Audrey McQueen, Ben Jennings, Tony Cato, Floyd McQueen, Rita & Mike Moore, and Roy Painter.

On Saturday, 3 May our Chapter ride became a work party instead with Jan and I, Mike and Rita Moore, Ben Jennings, Roy Painter, Tony and Carla Cato, and Floyd and Audrey McQueen helping Jerry and Melissa clean up their yard, cut and burn brush, rake debris and cut up trees into firewood sized lengths. Once we had done what we could at Jerry's we went next door to Gene's to help with dragging brush to the road for pickup.

I haven't listed our Chapter Directors, Richard and Sue Chapman, not because of an unwillingness to pitch in and help, but of Richard spending Friday evening and Saturday in the local hospital trying to find out what the problem is with his heart. As of Sunday 4 May, he is still in the hospital waiting (not very patiently) to find out the verdict.


Of course, like at any Chapter event, there was SOME clowning around, and Jan and Roy celebrated their birthdays with the Chapter. I know, this still hasn't defined "Chapter Life", but, at least to me, it has described it. Each month our Chapter has an award we call the "Atta Boy" and another we call the "Ill Eagle" (we are the Athens Eagle Wings), this month I think we ought to call it the "Atta Chapter" award. We are going to be making a Chapter trip to Key West, Florida in a couple of weeks, and we have all been eagerly anticipating the ride and camaraderie, but the way the Chapter pulls together in the face of adversity is a better example of what a Chapter is than how they have fun.

Ride safe, and ride often.


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