Oklahoma Tornado Relief

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July 17, 2013 by juicefong

Some of my favorite colleagues are in Oklahoma, and I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Tulsa and Oklahoma City numerous times over the past couple years. A couple weeks ago, about 120 TFA corps and staff members spent a Saturday volunteering through Serve Moore, a collection of churches in the Moore, OK area who are coordinating relief. I was on vacation, but was able to come this week.

I spent Monday doing some cleanup work; there is still much to be done, by the way. I encourage anyone reading this to consider a trip down to OKC. I spoke with people from all across the country (and locals) who came to help out—people from as far as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Chicago. There were church groups spending the better part of a week, families who diverted their vacation and retirees who showed up. People were young and old, from all walks of life.

Our team did some demolition work on a house that was hit by the tornado but still salvageable. Though the home mostly survived the storm, a leak in the roof brought mold into all the dry wall so we basically stripped that puppy down to studs and the concrete foundation. Across the street were homes that were completely leveled, but many others that survived mostly intact. I am told that it’s most likely that the owners of the home we cleaned up probably did not have insurance. Once again, even natural disasters have the most effect on those with the least privilege.

Below are a bunch of pictures from my time.


Serve Moore HQ.


A map of the destruction.


Thank you letter from local students


The Post Office still delivering on Harli Street where we worked.


Destruction in the Moore and Oklahoma City areas.


Insulation we tore out of the walls.


Sandy bringing out some more debris.


The house next door.


The remainders of a house across the street.


Apparently you hit rock just a couple feet below ground in the area, so storm shelters are rare.


A mailbox is all that remains.


Moore destruction.


The rest of my team removing debris.


Nature prevails.


When we arrived, this house had walls. We stripped it down. Lots of work with a crowbar.


A church group from Chicago drove down to do about 5 days of cleanup work.

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