The Norman Transcript

Local news

May 25, 2013

Tornadoes impact family twice

NORMAN — On May 3, 1999, Sherrie Lambert’s sister Esther Coburn, 35, was killed by the devastating EF-5 tornado in Moore.

On Monday, an EF-5 tornado once again devastated the same city. Areas damaged included the Moore Cemetery, located on the south side of 4th St., where Lambert’s sister was buried.

On Wednesday, hundreds of volunteers went to the cemetery to clean up debris. One of them was Lambert’s daughter Valarie Lambert, a student at the University of Oklahoma.

Valarie said she had been trying to go see the condition of her aunt’s grave site. A friend at OU had told her about the volunteer opportunity. At about 1 p.m., she arrived at the cemetery. A lot of the work had already been done denoted by the orderly piles of debris.

Feeling a sense of urgency, given the May 3, 1999, experience, she walked in and found her aunt’s grave site. All the debris there had been cleared. She cleaned the head stone and put some yellow flowers in the vase, which had been toppled over.

“When I saw that she was ‘okay,’ I just broke down,” Valarie said of her aunt’s grave site. “It was really emotional and it was utter relief.”

Valerie and Sherrie said their family can relate to what victims of Monday’s tornado are experiencing. Sherrie said the cemetery clean up is another demonstration of the state’s resilience and faith-inspired action.

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