Help a hero in Alabama

April 29, 2011, 10:13 PM UTC

Every crisis creates heroes. Tornado-ravaged Alabama has plenty this week. When my colleague David Whitford, a fellow editor-at-large at Fortune, emailed our staff today about one hero he knows, I asked him if I can share his note, below, with you on Postcards. Meet Pam Dorr–and thank you, David. — Patricia Sellers



Pam Dorr

Six years ago when I was in Greensboro, Alabama, reporting the story The Most Famous Story We Never Told for Fortune’s 75th anniversary issue, I met Pam Dorr.

Pam is a former lingerie designer for Victoria’s Secret who quit her job, moved to Greensboro in Hale County and founded a housing resource center affiliated with the Hale Empowerment and Revitalization Organization (HERO). Both of my daughters have since spent time in Greensboro volunteering with HERO, which according to its website “works as a catalyst for community development in areas of the Alabama Black Belt to end rural poverty.”

When I talked to Pam yesterday, she told me that while Greensboro was spared, Sawyerville, nine miles northwest, was hit hard. All told, Pam counted seven deaths in Hale County, 31 homes destroyed, 14 rendered uninhabitable, and dozens more heavily damaged.

When I talked to Pam again today, she sounded slightly better. While the Red Cross has been slow to respond through no fault of its own (apparently the regional office in Tuscaloosa was destroyed), FEMA has arrived and is providing tarps to cover holes in people’s roofs.

HERO is fully mobilized, providing food and shelter for the homeless, and would welcome contributions in any amount. Donations can be made online at HERO’s website.