The Norman Transcript

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June 14, 2013

Former basketball stars and PAL team up to benefit youngest tornado victims

MOORE — Howard Barnett said his son still has nightmares. Even though it has been more than three weeks since the EF-5 tornado ripped through Moore, killing 24 people and injuring another 300, 6-year-old Adorian Barnett is still feeling the effects.

“They say kids are more resilient, but we’ve had some challenging issues with the kids,” Barnett said. “When the weather changes, they start getting freaked out. My six-year-old, he had a nightmare one day and was sleepwalking in the garage, pulling on the car thinking we were going to leave him. I believe that is a result of the trauma that he suffered in these last two tornados that we had.”

It’s because of kids like Adorian that members of the National Basketball Retired Players Association and the Police Athletic League hosted a free basketball clinic Thursday at Moore High for kids affected by the recent tornadoes.

More than 50 students from Briarwood and Plaza Towers elementary schools took part in the two-hour camp that taught skills such as dribbling, rebounding and defense. But its main purpose was to give children a reason to smile.

“For us, it’s about getting back to some normality,” Barnett said. “Letting him have a bit of fun. Getting back in the groove of what it is to be a six-year old. This is needed to get him back to some normality.”

Arnie D. Fielkow, president of the NBRPA, went through the same type of devastation in Hurricane Katrina. He knows how tough it can be on the youngest victims and wanted his group to help in some way.

“It’s very important, especially for youth, to have an outlet of recreation and fun in the midst of some difficult times,” Fielkow said. “Our mission is to give back to communities. It was an honor and a privilege for us to come to Moore and Oklahoma City and to be able to give back to some kids who need some fun and entertainment.”

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