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Old May 26, 2013, 09:29 AM   #1
Join Date: April 26, 2011
Location: Red State, USA
Posts: 57
Lending a Hand

I had the honor of going down to Moore, Oklahoma with one of my church's response teams to assist with cleanup. My team was assigned to help out a young couple and their neighbor.

We arrived Friday morning. The damage pattern was similar to the '99 tornado, which I covered as a photographer for the Tulsa World. There would be signs of roof damage and within a block more and more severe damage until you got to ground zero where houses were completely destroyed and vehicles were tossed around like Hot Wheels toys.

It was back-breaking work, but it felt great to help people out. Tyson Food and the Salvation Army came by and fed us. We even had a CVS team swing by to give free tetanus shoots.

We came across one young lady who had lost everything. The only thing she wanted to find was her grandmother's jewelry box. Her house and brand new Camaro were flattened. Then, minutes later, she found it. It was awesome.

While the rest of the crew were taking a well-deserved break, I came across an elderly Vietnam War veteran and helped him gather his salvageable belongings into his pickup. He told me, as he was fighting back tears, the only thing he wanted to find was his cat, Leroy Brown. He had found him following the '99 tornado. He said he'd give anything to find his cat.

We did what we could, but it's going to take months to clean up this disaster. It's just hard to fathom the force that could do this kind of destruction. And, having been there, I was amazed and thankful that no more than 24 lives were taken. If this had happened 50 years ago, the toll would have been in the thousands.

I've included some photos I took from our mission.

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Old May 26, 2013, 10:03 AM   #2
Evan Thomas
Join Date: July 7, 2008
Location: Upper midwest
Posts: 5,146
That's a wonderful thing for you (and your church!) to have done. One of the things that gives me a bit of hope for this country is the way that people rally 'round to help each other in the face of calamities like this. Your pictures make the devastation very real, in a way that all those aerial views of the path of the tornado can't do.

All that said, regretfully, I'm going to have to close this. Much as I'd like to, I can't by any stretch of the imagination call it firearms-related.
Never let anything mechanical know you're in a hurry.
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