April 27th, 2011 is a day I will always remember. My state (Alabama) was hit by the largest outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded. The devastation was horrific. 249 fatalities were recorded in Alabama that day, and it felt like I was living a nightmare. The sounds of tornado sirens blasting all day and all night are forever etched in my mind. I graduated from The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL., which was one of the hardest hit cities in the state with 43 confirmed fatalities and over 1000 injuries. In fact the apartments I lived in my sophomore year of school were completely destroyed. I live in Birmingham now which is about 50 miles from Tuscaloosa, and several of my company’s employees lost their homes and everything they owned. A few weeks after the tornadoes I was at work one day and thought it would be a nice idea for my company to give their employees that were affected welcome cards when they returned back to work. These people needed all the help they could get and returning to work might provide a sense of normalcy when their lives had been turned upside down.
My boss was in total agreement with me and loved the idea. Not only would the cards serve as a reminder that the company was thinking of them during their time of need, it would hopefully help to facilitate the healing process and demonstrate that the company truly cared about them and their families. The look on many of the employee’s faces when they saw the cards on their desks when they returned to work was incredible. I truly feel that this small gesture provided joy to these individuals. I learned that business welcome cards can be used by any company to welcome an employee back to work after suffering a tragedy. My heart still aches for everyone affected by the tornadoes but we will come back stronger than ever.