Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tough Week in Oklahoma

It has been a tough week in Oklahoma. The tornado damage from early last week has affected so many people, families and communities. It has been nearly overwhelming and in fact, emotionally exhausting.  And I was not even directly impacted.

With the four day weekend, LOTS of people got out and tried to help around the state. My own church family organized hundreds of people to go out and serve the communities in lots of different ways. I got out Friday to one town and then yesterday nearby.

There is still so much to do and so many people are going to need help from weeks and months. It will take years to rebuild. And of course, some of the losses are permanent.

Yesterday I had the chance to help an older women in our community who had a large number of damaged trees on her property that needed to come down. I had the chance to work with 14 others for a large part of the day working in her yard. There was a bit of time pressure because she had to get the debris out to the curb for pickup the following morning.

Here are some pictures of the day and the folks working on her property and working to help her out.


I think we had 4 chainsaws running on the site and we had 10 people working to pull away the debris and clear the site. We used ropes to pull over one of the trees as we cut it because we didn't want it to fall the wrong way and take down a fence. A local company had a bobcat loader there to pick up the debris and take it to the street and it ran most of the day because there was so much to move.

There were trees down on the next door property that reached across and downed parts of our homeowners fence. Part of her house had roof damage and there was lots of damage on the nearby properties too.

And this was a smaller tornado, not the one that went through Moore.

My wife works at a local university and someone there find it helpful to warn all the employees days and hours before storms are heading our way. One storm might generate 10-15 emails to my wife. We make fun of that. Another friend working at a different local university sends out a single notice prior to storms and I've been known to make fun of that too. I've informed the friend that I won't be making fun anymore.

I had the chance to meet and work with a great group of people to help our neighbor. Thanks to Salie, Josh, Keri, Lyndee, Kedra, Hannah, Brianna, Pat, Andy, Tony, Tim, Krista and Andy.

We also closed the day with prayer being thankful that none of us amateurs were hurt and we prayed for all those affected the storms in the surrounding community.

There is still much to be done and lots of wounds to heal.


  1. Thank you for helping! Sometimes we forget how much we benefit from serving others. I too have enjoyed working with folks I really didn't know well this past week! Great group picture!

  2. I'm amazed at how many diverse church-organized groups are working side-by-side. Theological differences are put aside. Worship styles are not even discussed. What is happening in this disaster recovery service is the church, broadly defined, is serving in the name of God. Thanks for your work and your insights of what your team has accomplished!