It's been one year since deadly tornadoes ripped through central Oklahoma, forever changing the lives of so many. It was a week our state will never forget. On May 19, 2013 the first tornadoes swept through Shawnee, Carney and Little Axe. Our HR Administrator, Channa Smith, lives in the Shawnee area. Her home was hit that day. Luckily, she and her husband and their two sweet girls were not injured. But it's been a tough year for them. The family is still living in a rental home as they build a new one.
Then on May 20, mother nature took aim on the town Moore. The destruction was unbelievable. The lives lost, tragic. The number of people who were impacted, physically or emotionally, by this monstrous storm was overwhelming. We knew we had to do something. Within a day of the tornado, we were on the ground in Moore distributing necessities to the smallest victims of the tornado, the babies and toddlers. It was somewhat unorganized and chaotic, but it worked. In the first two weeks following the storms, we served more than 600 babies and toddlers in Moore, Shawnee, Little Axe, Carney, and El Reno, which was hit by yet another tornado on May 31.
We've since developed a disaster response plan and have a vehicle to reach families impacted by future disasters more effectively. We launched our BabyMobile in October 2013, which allows us to conduct mobile operations and assist families who don't have a means of transportation to get to our main facility. That mobile unit will serve as a disaster relief tool if and when the time comes. Some of the families we served in those first two weeks remain clients to this day. Others, have gotten back on their feet and only needed temporary assistance during those initial moments of crisis.
Our state saw a lot of devastation last spring, but we also saw a lot of good during that difficult time. So many people stepped up to volunteer their time or to donate goods and money. With heartfelt gratitude, we thank you for stepping up and caring so much about our community and those most innocent victims, the babies and the toddlers.
Posted on Tue, May 20, 2014
by Melissa Smuzynski