As you have probably heard, the city of Moore, Oklahoma, was struck by an especially bad tornado on Monday. It killed twenty-four, including seven children at the demolished Plaza Towers Elementary School. I normally don’t spend a lot of time on disaster stories here at Off on a Tangent—there are disasters big and small every single day—but I decided to spend a little time on this one since I happened to drive through Moore only a few short hours before the storm hit, and because I have a lot of family in the Oklahoma City area.
Melissa and I just got home from a big, week-long road-trip to Oklahoma. My cousin Thomas graduated high school in Lexington, Oklahoma, on Friday, and my other cousin James got married on Saturday in nearby Seminole. Photos of both events are coming soon (after I find some time to do some processing).
I have family near Lexington to the south and also in Oklahoma City to the north, all of whom are fine and escaped the storms without harm or any serious property damage. A less severe tornado struck Lake Thunderbird and Shawnee on Sunday, touching down after the storm system had already passed Norman (and while we were visiting with family in Lexington), and then the real monster struck Moore on Monday only six hours after we had left town on our way home.
We had been staying at a hotel in the city of Norman, which is about seven miles south of where the tornado crossed Interstate 35 in Moore. I remember, as we left on Monday morning, seeing the movie theater and hospital just off to the left of the freeway . . . and it was pretty surreal to see them later, badly damaged but still identifiable, during CNN’s tornado coverage.
If you want to help support the victims of the tornado disaster in Moore, I recommend donating to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City or the American Red Cross. These two, and others like them, send the money where it’s needed and offer much-needed assistance to anybody, “regardless of religion, race, creed, or socio-economic status” (to quote from the Catholic Charities web site).
Make sure you are donating to these or other reputable agencies; unfortunately, scammers seem to come out of the woodwork after big, newsworthy disasters.