Yesterday, local schools held early dismissal for a snow storm which wouldn’t arrive for a few hours, leaving many people scratching their heads. As I picked up my kids, I was asked by a local news station to give my reaction. Ever the voice of reason, I said “we have to think about the safety of the children who live in rural areas.” In Arkansas, we simply don’t have the resources to clear our roads when winter weather strikes.
This was ever apparent as later in the evening, when snow was falling heavily over our state, I received a text from a friend: “Just letting you know I may or may not be there tmrw… I was on my way back to LR and had to pull over in Lamar…Helms and I may be sleeping in the car tonight.”
Helms is her two year old. If she wasn’t planning to help me with an event, I may have not known she was stuck.
Never mind that, I set out to see if I could help.
I posted this to Facebook: Do I have any friends in the Lamar area? But then quickly posted this: Do I have friends with friends in Lamar? Another friend is stuck there with her toddler.
Almost immediately, I received a message and then a call from an old friend, Tara. Her sister lives there. They weren’t able to rescue her, but gave us some great information that helped later. Tara was one of my first four Stroller Strides members in 2007. I haven’t seen or talked to her in years.
An hour passed and she was still stuck in Lamar. I posted again: My friend is still sitting in her car, needing help. She’s at the gas station in Lamar, with her 2 y/o, thinking they will be sleeping in the car tonight. If you can help her, please let me know! If you know someone in that area that can get to her it would be greatly appreciated. She’s too nervous to drive.
Soon after, local friends started sharing my posts, and offering prayers and suggestions.
The next call came from a former Stroller Strides member and instructor, Ivy. Like Tara, I haven’t seen or talked to Ivy in too long. She had a friend in Russellville who could help, but I was trying to reach my stuck friend for her exact location and had to promise to call right back.
Through Facebook messaging, I had another lead. Jennifer had shared my posts and she had a friend, who had friends who could help! Yes, it was that many degrees of separation! Jennifer is a member of my Body Back program. Through her, and then her friend Janie, my friend, Ariel, who is also a Stroller Strides instructor, was ultimately rescued and spent the night in a hotel 20 miles from where she was stuck. A very selfless person drove those 20 miles to rescue her, and will help her return to her car today. Amazing.
I’m very grateful for everyone who helped Ariel and her precious son to safety. I told her last night that it truly takes a village. I’m so thankful Our Village is so strong.