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May 26, 2013

Carney residents recall tornado’s rampage

CARNEY — It was like any other Sunday.

Pastor Mark Davis led his congregation at First Baptist Church of Carney.

Michelle Field and her husband, Billy, regulars at Chandler Friends Church, stayed home from services to work on their newly-purchased recreational vehicle.

But in the early evening, the peaceful, calm Sunday in Carney came to a violent conclusion. An EF-4 tornado skirted downtown and the schools, but plowed through the southern side of this rural, 650-strong town, destroying 30 homes.

No lives were lost.

Carney’s rural location has made it one of the over-looked communities affected by last week’s tornado outbreak. Twisters in Carney, Bethel Acres and Shawnee were overshadowed by the enormous and devastating EF-5 that tore through Moore a day later.

“We don’t have the financial resources or the manpower that bigger cities have,” said Pastor Davis, who is one of many volunteers working hard to put Carney back together. “But we take care of our own. That’s what we’re supposed to do.”

Davis helped oversee the unloading and dissemination of donations Saturday, six days after the tornado,.

“We were just enjoying the afternoon,” Davis said. “I was at church getting ready for a prayer meeting with our youth pastor and his wife when the sirens went off ... I said, ‘I’m not leaving until I see a tornado.’ I went outside and got a look at it from around the church and was just like, ‘Oh my gosh.’”

Davis’ son, Jonah, was home with the rest of the family, playing the video game “Kung-Fu Panda” with his little brother.

Davis met up with his family and took them to the shelter at Carney High School. He then went back to pick up a 99-year-old parishioner, getting her to safety as well.

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