By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — As Mickey Davis addressed the auditorium, the picture of a bright-eyed, happy 8-year-old on the podium in front of her could not be ignored. Davis’ son, Kyle Davis, was one of seven who lost their lives in the May 2013 tornadoes at Plaza Towers Elementary.
Mickey Davis said she had good, bad and miserable days since the tornadoes, but she was marking Wednesday as a good day.
On Wednesday, the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma’s (BGCO) Disaster Relief organization presented a $500,000 donation to Moore Public Schools to build a 1,600-person storm shelter.
Davis said Kyle’s death had meaning as the impetus for the building of storm shelters in Moore schools and that while she prayed Central students never have to use the storm shelter, they were fortunate to have a safe place during severe weather.
“I’m proud and honored to be Kyle’s mom. Thank you, BGCO,” Davis said. “Kyle, JaNae, Emily, Sydney, Nicholas, Christopher and Antonia, I know you’re here with us today.”
The BGCO, which has ongoing involvement in the response and rebuild after the May 2013 tornadoes, designated the gift for Central Elementary School and Central Junior High School, 123 NW 2nd St. and 400 N Broadway St., respectively.
“We are privileged to present the Moore Schools with this check to help fund a storm shelter building at Central in Moore, which will benefit an estimated 1,600 students, teachers and staff,” said Dr. Anthony L. Jordan, BGCO executive director and treasurer. “This will bring peace to the hearts and minds of the many (residents) of Moore ... This investment is made possible because of the generosity of thousands of Baptists and others who gave toward Oklahoma Baptists’ disaster relief and recovery work.”
Moore Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Romines appeared with Jordan and other BGCO officials at the site of Central Elementary School and Central Junior High School, where the storm shelter facility will be constructed.
“We are grateful beyond words for this investment by Oklahoma Baptists, which will mean so much peace of mind and provided safety to so many families,” Romines said.
Todd Lamb, Oklahoma lieutenant governor, who also attended the announcement, said he was there to state the obvious — government cannot do everything.
“Government cannot meet the needs of everybody. We’re a great state because of the people who aren’t in the government ... BGCO Disaster relief really is the faith-based FEMA. The BGCO is providing half a million dollars because this is what Oklahoma does: help each other and make a difference and give to people they’ll never meet because they’re Christ like and want to share the mercy of God’s love,” he said.
The BGCO’s donation to Moore Public Schools is another example of the Oklahoma standard that arose after the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing in 1995, said Sam Porter, BGCO Disaster Relief director.
“It’s a small thing to do to protect 1,600 children. It’s the right thing to do,” Porter said with conviction. “We challenge all of the relief agencies to get involved in a similar fashion as Oklahoma Baptists, working to provide safety to the students of the great state of Oklahoma.”
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