On November 17, 2013, a series of tornados hit northern and central Illinois, leaving in their wake a trail of destruction and ruin. At least five deaths were attributed to these terrible storms. One person whose life was uprooted was Kathy Mckinley-Albers, the mother of my best Friend, Adam Miller. Her home and cars were destroyed, along with the rest of her town, and she was left with nothing but twisted rubble. Thankfully, Kathy and most others in her town survived the storms, but the damage from the F4 tornado was astonishing.
Once Adam confirmed that his mother was OK, he immediately began to make plans to drive from his home in Kennewick, WA all the way to Illinois to help his mother and the many people hit so hard by this disaster.
Adam, a former Air Force Airmen, started a charitable organization several years ago called “Passion of the Pink,” which was his way of doing what he could to give back to his mother and aunt, who are cancer survivors. He wrapped his Nissan 350Z special edition in pink graphics to represent his commitment to cancer awareness, and drove cross-country for two weeks raising money for cancer research.
Being the giving person he is, Adam got the idea to take as much help as he could to people like his mother. He put out the call to action to all his friends. I relayed the mission to everyone I could— co-workers and friends— in the hopes that we could make a difference for some people who have lost so much. Cougar Mountain Software employees responded generously in the form of blankets, clothes, food, toiletries, and even Home Depot gift cards to help start rebuilding efforts. By the time Adam’s “train” was rolling through Boise, we had collected enough to make a very significant contribution to the almost 3000 lbs. of tornado aid that Adam was taking cross-country in a U-Haul.
The devastation of the tornado was staggering, but with the help of people around the country, including Cougar Mountain employees, the town has started the recovery process and the people of Gifford are extremely grateful for our generosity.