There are no words that can express the devastation. There is nothing we can say to take the hurt away from those families who lost everything. Everything.
It can be so hard to see the footage. Homes, businesses, elementary schools, completely gone, reduced to rubble. But then I see the headlines that inspire hope.
“Father and son survive Moore tornado arm in arm,” “Crews endanger own lives to save tiniest victims,” “Volunteers clean Moore cemetery damaged in tornado,” “Woman returns pictures to tornado victims,” “Florist Donates Flowers For Funerals Of Tornado Victims”
This is what I know of Oklahomans. They are strong and they are good.
While I may not have lived in the Sooner State for long, I learned quickly how incredible the residents are. I’ll save you the details of why I was left Oklahoma, most of you already know that story, and it isn’t relevant anyway, but I want to share a part of that adventure.
On my way out of the state, I was an emotional mess, my life was “falling apart” and I didn’t know what I was going to do. And then to make matters worse, my car died, not even an hour from the MO border. In a small town called Miami (pronounced: My-am-uh) I called my Roadside assistance and a tow truck was sent. When he arrived, he was extremely kind but a bit surprised to see my New York plates. He helped me load my cats (yes, I had my two crazy cats in the car with me!) and we were on our way to the mechanic’s shop (Rawlin’s Automotive) It was a Sunday, so of course they weren’t open. The tow truck driver didn’t want me to be alone, so he brought me over to a local store (Love’s) where I could sit, have something to eat and figure out what my next step would be. An hour later he sent his brother to come check on me, to make sure I was ok. He cared about my wellbeing, even though he had just met me. I was finally able to get settled in to a hotel (Microtel) where, after hearing my situation, they gave me a better rate and didn’t charge me a pet fee. The next day I needed to have some money wired to me from my parents (Since I didn’t have enough to pay for the new alternator that my car needed) The man at the Western Union office was also kind. After hearing my story he told me to call his wife if I needed anything, that I was welcome to join them for lunch and supper for as long as I was there in Miami. While I did not take him up on his offer, I felt so much safer and less alone in this small town, far from home. The people of Oklahoma took me in and wrapped their arms around me in my time of need and I will be forever grateful for that.
I may have only spent a short time in Oklahoma, and I may not have left on the best terms, but I met so many wonderful people there. People who I call friends, people who I love and care about, and people who’s names I may not remember, but who will always hold a place in my heart.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this natural disaster.
We must come together as a nation to help the people of Oklahoma. Here are different ways that you can help:
(compiled from multiple sources)
United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief Fund is open. Donations may be made online at www.unitedwayokc.org or by mail to United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK 73101 with notation for May Tornado Relief.
Contributions to the Moore & Shawnee Tornado Relief Fund can be made securely online at www.TulsaCF.org. Donations can also be mailed to TCF offices at 7030 S. Yale, Suite 600, Tulsa, OK, 74136.
Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief This organization says donations will “go straight to help those in need providing tree removal services, laundry services and meals to victims of disasters.”
It is requesting monetary donations (It says clothing is NOT needed). For more information, and to donate, visit Oklahoma Baptist Disaster Relief’s website.
You can send checks to: BGCO, Attn: Disaster Relief, 3800 N. May Ave., Oklahoma City, OK., 73112.
Animal aid: The Pet Food Pantry of OKC is offering dog food, cat food, leashes, collars, food bowls, etc to those in need. (405) 664-2858 www.petfoodpantryokc.org
You can also check out this list from MSNBC: Oklahoma Tornado Relief