Living through a tornado and dealing with the aftermath and damage left behind can be one of the most trying times for a community.
It's always a bright spot to see volunteers lend a hand to get folks back on their feet and then there are those unexpected silver linings that just pop up and surprise you in the midst of the chaos.
The community of Caraway has one of those surprises to be thankful for after being hit by a tornado on October 31st.
Two local churches have joined as one since the storm hit.
Black Oak Baptist Church had recently been experiencing some struggles and several people had left the church.
When the storm hit, Black Oak was down to 10 members.
Then New Hope Baptist was damaged by the tornado.. So the two churches have come together until New Hope can be rebuilt.
The pastor of New Hope is now preaching at Black Oak and he prays they will leave Black Oak stronger than they found it.
Rebuilding is expected to take a long time, until then they will hold services at Black Oak.
This silver lining is making this a better Caraway and A Better Region 8.
Something very special happened in Region 8 this past weekend.
It's called Overflow Jonesboro. This is an outreach project conducted by members of Southwest Church of Christ.
While this project has been going on for years, this year they were able to add something new.
The members still helped people with home repairs, yard work and prayer, but this year they were able to add some medical and dental services.
Both NEA Baptist and St. Bernards offered their services to the community for free.
People were able to get lab work done, check their height, weight, blood pressure and stroke screenings, dental services for all ages and free breast exams.
Church members raised 2 thousand dollars to help with Overflow Jonesboro and donations from JT White Lumber Company provided the materials and tools for the home repairs.
What an incredible example for all of us. Whether you're volunteering in a group like Overflow Jonesboro or just paying a kind gesture forward - it certainly makes this A Better Region 8.
There are silent heroes in our midst. That's what I thought of last week when I heard about the untimely death of Jonesboro resident Warren H. Moore. Moore drowned in Gulf Shores trying to save a woman who was caught in a rip current in the ocean. I listened as Moore's former pastor, Jimmy Young of Nettleton Church of Christ, shared his memories about this amazing man. He said Moore was a quiet, humble man who was well respected and highly thought of. Young said Moore was a gem of a person, a great family man and cared so much for his wife and children. Young said Moore taught him that meekness was a real treasure. And he was not surprised that Moore laid down his life to save someone else. In this day and time when so many of us are focused on ourselves and our own problems, Moore's act of selflessness really made me take a look at my own life. My hope is you will as well. Maybe we should spend more time paying attention to the humble in our midst. I suspect if we did that we would make this A Better Region 8.
It's such a shame we live in a society where people are quick to sue and people, companies and organizations are so afraid of being sued, that decisions are sometimes made that hurt the youngest among us. Such was the case last week when a parent complained about having prayer at the graduation ceremony for *6th graders* in the Riverside School District. The district voted to cancel graduation in order to avoid the controversy. Luckily, the ceremony will still be held at an area church later next week. Another parent told Region 8 News, prayer had never been an issue in the town before. And it shouldn't be now. I was disappointed the voice of one could put the end to such a special time for so many of these young people. This should be a time to celebrate and not be the center of attention for something like a simple prayer. For once, wouldn't it be amazing if an organization like this stood up and said, we are going to keep our prayer. Standing up for what you believe in will make this A Better Region 8.