OHATCHEE, Al., May 18, 2011 – On June 14th, “Bama Rising: A Benefit Concert for Alabama Tornado Recovery” presented by Verizon will take place at the BJCC arena in Birmingham. Among the artists to be featured are Taylor Hicks, Kellie Pickler, Martina McBride, Bo Bice, Sara Evans, Ashton Shepherd, Darius Rucker and the group ALABAMA, which will be reuniting for this performance, having retired in 2003.

The Bama Rising website quotes ALABAMA’s Randy Owen stating on behalf of the group, “My hope is that this will bring happiness and help to my fellow citizens in Alabama. I believe it’s extremely important that we do this benefit, and I want everyone in the state to feel like they are part of it. I hope we all can pull together to help get through the worst natural disaster I’ve ever seen in Alabama. I appreciate my friends in country music, everyone that’s been involved, and anyone that’s helped in any way.”

Tickets will be available on Friday, May 20th at 11:00 A.M. Central Time, ranging in price from $25-$150.

In light of the many events that have happened, I’ve struggled to figure out which article should serve as my column’s overdue breakfast. It’s fun to appear invincible online publicly, without having to acknowledge that my absence was due to such mundane things as midterm exams, final exams, and lack of electricity, water, telephone, internet and sleep. But I suppose it would only be fitting and proper to acknowledge some of the issues before more time passes…

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LITTLE BROTHERS AFTER THE STORM: David (8) and Benjamin (4) Read inspect damage from a tree that fell across the family swimming pool and garden arbor. (Photo by Abigail Read)

NOW WE HAVE TO CLEAN IT ALL UP: Joseph Read (16) takes a look at an uprooted tree. To put it in perspective, he's at least 6 feet tall. (Photo by Abigail Read)

SURVIVED THE STORM: A Canadian goose nesting at our pond hatched out three adorable goslings right after the tornado. (Photo by Abigail Read)

“For You have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm…” – Isaiah 25:4