People have donated countless hours of their time and money from their wallets to help pull the city back together, Smith said.
But even as the city recovers, there will be other crises. Families will battle hunger or need medical procedures they can’t pay for.
“Then we remember a little more clearly why we do what we do,” Smith said.
The tornado is a reminder of just how important the United Way campaign is each year, she said.
Others at the lunch knew this.
When donated gym memberships, handbags and hair products were auctioned off for the campaign, people pulled out their wallets.
Two men fought over a bottle of some type of hair product. The winner paid $55 for it.
Some local businesses are still collecting donations from their employees. Haynes International, though, has already tallied its totals.
Between its employee contributions and corporate gifts, it will be donating $186,804.50 to United Way, said Vice President and CIO Jeff Young.
He said those who read the newspaper have probably seen Haynes’ earnings for the year.
“Haynes didn’t have a record year, but we had a good year,” he said. “Whether we have a good year or a bad year, we give.”
Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune Life & Style editor, can be reached at 765-454-8585, at email@example.com or via Twitter @LindseyZiliak.