MOORE — Terrie Vicknair finally doesn’t have to worry about safety of the Head Start children under her care.
During her tenure with Moore Head Start, she has seen multiple tornadoes hit the facility or very near the facility.
Crossroads Youth & Family Services Inc. has operated the Moore Head Start program for the past decade, but even before that ownership, tornadoes were an issue, Crossroads Executive Director Lisa Winters said.
While no children have been injured, the Head Start facility has taken serious damage from storms.
On May 3, 1999, the church housing the Moore Head Start was destroyed. The church rebuilt, but no classrooms were included for the Head Start program. The church allowed two mobile classroom units to be set up on the property at 12th Street and Interstate 35.
In 2003, two weeks before Crossroads was set to take over the program, those mobile classrooms were destroyed in a tornado.
“We had a homebound program for two years after that,” Winters said. “We looked everywhere trying to find a facility.”
Then a 7,000-square-foot church came up for sale at a great price. That church is the current location of the Moore Head Start and Early Head Start programs at Fourth Street and Janeway Avenue.
“It’s been a labor of love,” Winters said.
On May 20, Crossroads staff and leadership learned that a tornado was heading toward Moore and the Head Start facility was located in the proposed path of the storm. Winters said it was a feeling she never wants to have again.
“It was just heart-stopping,” she said. “You didn’t know what the outcome would be.”
Head Start Program Director Anthony Stafford agrees.
“With any storm, at a certain point, you lose cell phone contact,” Stafford said.
That contact can be out for a time as emergency calls flood the air waves.