NORMAN — When Jerry Mosley looks out the window of his small office in a cramped trailer that is now Control Flow Inc.’s Oklahoma headquarters, he can see clearly the pieces of the horrific past that forced him into the temporary lodging.
There’s the bulldozing equipment that was used to clear out the debris. The chewed-up dirt where the warehouse used to rest. The blank slab where a house once stood before the deadly tornado uprooted everything. It’s a constant reminder of the humid May afternoon that forever changed the lives of Mosley and the 10 people who were with him that day.
As the May 20th tornado that would eventually claim 23 lives and cleave a huge swath through Moore headed toward Mosley and Control Flow, the general manager quickly gathered his employees and made a split-second decision that would save their lives. Rather than allow anyone to leave in an attempt to escape the storm — an action he said would have led them straight into its path — he took them on a brisk walk down the road, to Sally Horn’s home.
Horn and her husband Ronnie founded Control Flow and built their house on the same property. It was the home they planned to retire in, and the couple did just that after selling Control Flow several years ago, though they remained active in the business. When Ronnie died in January, Sally continued to live in the same house and regularly visited with Mosley and the company she helped create.
On this day, it was Mosley who visited her. He and the nine other people who were at the office that day believed at first they would just watch the storm pass by; Mosley even snapped a few pictures of it on his phone.
But before long it was clear that the EF-5 tornado was heading straight for them, and soon it was clear exactly why Mosley brought them to Horn: anxious about the tornado that ravaged Moore a decade earlier, Horn had put in a storm shelter large enough to accommodate a dozen people.