By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Less than a year ago Jennifer Brumley’s son TJ was dug out of a pile of rubble that used to be his classroom at Briarwood Elementary. The May 20 tornados in Oklahoma destroyed homes and took lives demolishing Briarwood and Plaza Towers elementaries.
“When we found him (TJ), he only had a dictionary to protect his head,” Brumley said.
Shaken from past events, but determined to help make Moore schools safer, Brumley is now the founder of Moore Helmets for Schools, a group that has been raising funds to provide Moore schools with skating helmets and storage bins.
“Besides the actual additional physical protection we’re providing, there is a peace of mind that comes with these helmets,” Brumley said.
Moore Helmets for Schools delivered helmets to four schools in Moore Public School District Friday and Saturday. Staging of the deliveries occurred at Southmoore High School where more than 50 volunteers showed-up ready to work. Deliveries were made to Plaza Towers Elementary, Briarwood Elementary, Highland East Jr. High and Central Jr. High. Brumley said the rest of Moore public schools would be given helmets in the near future. The helmets will equip Moore students with another layer of protection during sever weather.
With over 30,000 students in the Moore Public School District, Moore Helmets for Schools had to work diligently over the past nine months to raise funds for its project. Brumley said fundraising activities included everything from a raffle at an OKC Thunder game to an informational video to writing grant applications. United Way of Central Oklahoma donated $106,000 to the cause and the Red Cross gave over $100,000. With other donations, the group reached their goal and raised a total of $250,000.
“We’re so happy that the kids can feel safer now,” she said. “And the teachers can also feel more confident by having something to actively do (putting helmets on students) to keep their students safer.”
Brumley added that the response from parents and students had been nothing but positive.
“Last night there was a play going on at Southmoore and we had high schoolers come up to us and thank us,” she explained. “I thought they might think the helmets were dumb and not want to wear them, but they were so grateful for all our work. I also thought some people might say the helmets aren’t necessary, but everyone has been happy to have the additional protection.”
Nicole Harris’, volunteer and vice president of Briarwood Elementary PTA, son Zachary was also at Briarwood on May 20. Harris said there were a lot of unknowns in the beginning stages of planning but the delivery of helmets made everything worth the hard work.
“After that day (May 20) and I heard about the idea from Jennifer I knew I wanted to help,” Harris said. “Today’s gone really well. It’s been great to have so many volunteers and support.”
Additionally, All American Pizza and Chick-fil-a in Moore donated food to volunteers for the staging and delivery process.
For more information about Moore Helmets for Schools or to donate, visit helmetsforschools.org.
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