Oklahoma Unites After Devastating Tornadoes

After seven tornadoes ripped through Oklahoma on May 24th, 2011, taking the lives of 10 people, Oklahomans are uniting to help those affected by the storms. Donations of all sorts are being given to help those need. Shelters have been opened for those whose homes were destroyed and damaged. Some Oklahomans are even opening their own homes to those in need of a place to stay.

“We may be down, but we aren’t out,” Paula, from Oklahoma City, stated. “We are just getting started. There is a long way to go to help everyone in need, but we can do it. We always do.”

The local news station, KWTV Channel 9, and the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma held a telethon on May 27th to help. The phone lines opened at 9:30 p.m., ending one hour later. During that time, over $61,000 was raised. Several Oklahoma corporations have been making contributions all week. The total amount raised for the American Red Cross of Central Oklahoma is $494,000.

“It is hard to believe that much money was raised in an hour,” Larry, from Norman, said. “Times are hard here and a lot of people are still unemployed, but it looks likes a lot of people are digging deep to help.”

That total does not include the donations given to the Hank Hamil Family Support Trust, the trust fund to help the family who lost two small children and their home in Piedmont. Both the mother and daughter are still in the hospital. The money raised will help with the family’s expenses.

“My heart breaks for the Hamil family,” Anna, from Ardmore, said. “Losing two children and having a third with severe brain injuries – it is more than I could stand. And, they lost their home and all their belongings. How do they go on?”

Oklahomans from all over the state are also donating household items, food, clothing and the like to help the victims of the multiple tornadoes. It would be almost impossible to count the number of man hours Oklahomans have given, searching for those missing and helping to sift through the remains of homes.

“We don’t have a lot of money to give,” Jeff, from Moore, explained. “We do have time so we went out and helped in Piedmont. I searched for Ryan [Hamil] and my wife helped with the clean up.”

Oklahomans haven’t forgotten about the pets and other animals affected by the tornadoes. Kennels, blankets and food have all been donated to the Guthrie Animal Shelter after it was destroyed. In less than 12 hours after the tornado ripped through Oklahoma’s original capital, more than 60 animals were placed in foster homes or were in other forms of safe shelter.

Oklahoma is moving forward, getting back on track. For information how you can help, the Salvation Army, the Red Cross, Samaritan’s Purse and other organizations are accepting donations of all types.