We can do Moore: Volunteers just want to help

We can do Moore: Volunteers just want to help

MOORE, OKLA. -- “I’ve never been in a tornado,” I told Alex, a 12-year-old volunteer.

“No. Way.”

I wish I could tell you this story in person and recreate the disbelief the young boy had in his voice when I told him that my Indiana-raised self has never experienced a tornado firsthand. 

The magnitude of Monday's storm aside, they’re “no big deal” to those in Oklahoma, he told me, as he’s already been through four.

Four. And he’s just 12 years old.

When Monday’s storm hit, the sixth grader was at school at Central Elementary School. Students were shuffled into the hallway at the sound of the first tornado siren but quickly moved into the bathrooms as the storm came closer and the siren continued to sound.

“Some of the little kids were crying,” Alex said, “but I wasn’t too scared.”

Alex, his home and his family all survived the storm. Saturday morning, he and his friends decided on their own that they should help. So they all got on their bikes, rode down to a volunteer command center at the corner of S Howard Avenue in Moore – just a few blocks from the tornado’s main path.

I asked him why he was volunteering and if he needed to rack up service hours for school. He said no. He just wanted to help.

And that’s the continual spirit of the people we’re meeting here in Oklahoma.

Volunteers continued to pour into the center all afternoon. Many left in dirty clothes with rakes in hand – tired after a long day of clearing debris. Local businessmen Steve Jackson and Kortny Killman handed out T-shirts that said, “I can do Moore. We can do Moore.” Killman said the shirts were made for the volunteers – a way to say “thank you” for their selflessness and support.

“We believe they should have a clean shirt.”

Both Rachel and I left with T-shirts, too, which we plan to wear proudly, and hopefully remind people that we can all do a little bit more.             

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