Daily Archives: March 16, 2011

Japan Disaster strikes home for me. (This has nothing to do with Lotus Notes..or does it?)

I want to share with you a Facebook post from my friend’s wife.  I have known his family for 20 years.  We were neighbors when I lived in Greenville, South Carolina.  Growing up, he and his brother spent many hours exercising my black lab.   They are now grown and married and have children of their own.   Jessie lives in East Lansing, MI.  Gabe lives in a small coastal village with his wife and daughter.  The village is Ofunato, Japan.  A Detroit TV station picked up this story.  Check out the video: http://www.clickondetroit.com/video/27212569/index.html

Here is her post:

Stephanie Craft~ Monday March 14, 2011
On Friday afternoon as you all know an 8.8 magnitude earthquake shook the country of Japan. Gabe was at school across the bay and I was home in Jinomori with Violet. When the earthquake started I ran outside with Violet. We had no shoes or coats on as it happened so suddenly.  I struggled to make it down the street to where my some of my neighbors were standing and holding on to some steel poles. They held out their arms to me and then we all wrapped our arms around Violet. She began to cry and the shaking became more and more severe and also probably because my heart was beating out of my chest. There was an explosion at the power plant that we could see from where we were standing and we all screamed out loud as the sparks flew. Finally the shaking subsided and we all stood around waiting to hear the announcement to follow. Violet was screaming so loudly that I could not hear the announcement at all. I stood there as long as I could but we were both getting cold so I started to walk back in to my house thinking it was all ok. Just as I arrived at my house my dear friend Junko Mino drove past and shouted out my name. I  was so happy to see her and she immediately said there is a big tsunami coming please get in my car. I ran to the door of my house and was able to grab shoes for me and Violet and our coats. They were by the door so I didn’t even have to go inside but I did see everything in my kitchen on the ground. I had my cell phone and ran back to the car and we drove away. I tried to call Gabe several times but everyone was doing the same thing. I could not get a connection. Finally just before the service cut out we connected and I said where are you? He told me his location and I told him I was going to the hospital because it is the highest place in our town. Junko dropped me off there and then went to meet with her family. I went inside and they were setting up triage in the entry ways. I stood there in the entry as the aftershocks continued to shake the earth. A former student of Gabe’s and her mother arrived with her 1 month old twin baby girls. And we waited together to meet out husbands. After 1 hour passed I was really getting sick. Someone came in and said where is Gabe and I told them. Their eyes told me everything I did not want to know. They said the wave came and I just felt my whole world shatter. I didn’t even know the wave had come. So I stood there trying to hold it together for our baby girl. Another 45 min past and I was really hanging by a thread of hope that I would see my beloved’s face one more time. I was thinking of all the things I had said the night before and that morning. What could I have said different. Then a familiar face appeared. It was my neighbor and she shouted out that Gabe was there. I didn’t believe her though. She left and running through the doors 3 minutes later was my beautiful husband. It was the most beautiful embrace of my life. My husband my friend and love was with me again. Then we waited for news of other loved ones. That night we were told to stay in the gym of the hospital with other survivors. It was amazing to experience such kindness and grace under so much distress.  We are safe and very blessed. The next day we moved to another evacuation area to make room for incoming elderly and injured. There was no lack of water or medicine but we knew the night would be another rough sleep. We decided to journey to the town where our friend Mark and his aforementioned wife, Junko, live. As we were about to leave Mark came in the room. We all embraced in tears of relief and thankfulness. Mark took us to his home and we ate and slept well. There is so much more to tell… But, we must go at this time.
We give thanks to all of you who have kept us in your thoughts and prayers. We have each other but we have lost our home, car and possessions. Many have asked how they can help. So, given the cost of shipping anything these days and that we can buy what we need here the best way to help us is to send a check or money order payable to ***************  ( If you want to help this family, contact me directly or give to World Vision http://www.worldvision.org/ )
We love you all and thank you so much for all of your thoughts and prayers.
We are continuing a vigil of hope for friends not yet contacted.
Peace, Blessings & Love, Gabe, Steph & Violet

For perspective, unless someone gave them some clothes, they are still wearing what they wore last Friday.
So how does all of this tie into Lotus Notes?  World Vision is the charity organization to which IBM gave half of Watson’s winnings from his victory on Jeopardy.  World Vision is also a Lotus Notes shop based in the Seattle area.

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