NORMAN — Tuesday morning, the scenery at Fourth Street and Telephone Road in Moore changed once again.
On Tuesday, what had been the home of Moore Medical Center since 2005 officially became a construction site. Finishing up what Mother Nature did May 20 when an EF-5 tornado ripped through the area, the process of completely bringing down the mangled building started after a morning full of shared memories, hugs, tears and even a couple of laughs.
The emotional morning began with a remembrance ceremony, which allowed employees a quiet time of reflection on the south, east and west Moore Medical Center parking lots.
From there, Norman Regional Health System President and CEO David Whitaker welcomed the crowd of MMC employees, city of Moore officials and the general public.
“All of my employees, it’s good to see you again,” Whitaker said.
Speaking to a large crowd, Whitaker reflected on the purpose for the ceremony.
“We are here not only to remember the good times and the great memories, the deep stories about Moore Medical Center, but we are also here to thank the members of the Moore Medical Center staff — particularly those of you that were in our facility that faithful afternoon,” Whitaker said. “When I think about your actions, I think about your heart, I think about your courage and I really think about our preparation as a health system as we prepare for disasters that we don’t want to happen for us or anyone else, but it did.
“Because of our dedicated staff, your heart, your courage, your preparation, we did good. You owe yourself a big hand of applause.”
On May 20, there were approximately 100 employees, 30 patients and 300 community members seeking shelter at MMC.
“During that 15-minute time that we all will remember, you saved the lives of about 40 patients. You saved each other’s lives as staff members and colleagues and then the 300 community members sought shelter at our Moore Medical Center. To not lose anyone is miraculous.”