Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tornado: Part Six

Thus far I have had an opportunity to go in to the interior of the devastated areas so as to help clean the rubble of two family's homes.  One of the families, Brad and Tiffany and their children, includes one of our teachers at Southmoore.  The other family, Donna and Sarah, includes one of my students and her mother who has become a good friend.  While I had heard stories about the damage at these two homes, it truly broke my heart to see the devastation.

In both cases, the families had been told that they needed to get the rubble as close to the curb as possible; this included each and every brick fragment.  At Brad and Tiffiany's home in Moore it was their understanding that everything but the slab had to be cleared out.  At Donna and Sarah's home in south Oklahoma City they were told that anything outside of the remaining structure had to be cleared out.  I'm not sure if the difference in the two cases was because of differing city government policies or the overall nature of the damage.  While still classified as a total loss due to holes in walls & the roof, the separation of the roof from the house, the rotation of the house on the foundation, and then the complications of continued rain and water damage throughout the house, the house in Oklahoma City only had to have the external debris removed.  The house in Moore had no roof and the only walls still "standing" was a corner of the kitchen, the bathroom and "parts" of two bedrooms.

The one major common bond in each of these situations was the large number of people who had come out to help clean the rubble.  Due to other commitments, I wasn't able to help out much more than hour at Brad and Tiffany's.  But to be honest, the mammoth number of people who showed up to help remove the debris and remaining house structure was so large that I actually felt in the way at times (this is a good thing...the overwhelming volunteer spirit of Oklahomans and our fellow Americans).  Additionally, the spirit of fellowship that emerges when people work side-by-side in a common goal is simply amazing.  I throughoughly loved the human chain we made at Donna and Sarah's house to help move the chunks of debris from the sides of the house out to the curb.  Each chunk passing through the hands of each of us heading off to a pile which the city would later collect.

In truth, I'm not sure how much physical help I was in either case.  But these are two families that I love and respect and I'm honored that they let me provide whatever simplistic service I could.
Brad & Tiffany's kitchen

Brad & Tiffany's backyard & neighborhood

OSU & USA flags: Brad & Tiffany's symbols of perseverance & hope 

All of the volunteers at Brad & Tiffany's house

Donna & Sarah's garage
(you can see the storm shelter opening in the garage floor...
but Donna was at Briarwood & Sarah was at Southmoore)

Donna & Sarah's patio

New skylight in Donna & Sarah's house

Collapsed wall, garage, second floor damage at Donna & Sarah's house

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