The Norman Transcript

Opinion

June 27, 2013

Learning a lesson in humility

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

I came from Edgecomb, Maine, as a disaster mental health worker for the Red Cross to help in the Oklahoma tornadoes relief.

Upon my arrival May 27, the damage witnessed was more than one could have imagined. Miles and miles of devastation: homes, businesses, schools and even a hospital all destroyed or damaged beyond belief. Homes, cars, trucks and trees were left as piles of rubble and debris in every direction.

My deployment began in Shawnee as a team member going out in the community to help homeowners and citizens in their environment. Shortly thereafter, I was assigned to Westmoore High School in Moore.

Moore is the community that was ambushed by the EF-5 tornado May 20, suffering major devastation. The high school became the Multiple Agency Resource Center.

The MARC was one of four resources in Oklahoma helping people recover and begin to heal from their losses.

Losses included loved ones: spouses, children, relatives, neighbors and pets. Losses also included homes, cars and possessions of all kind, ranging from sacred items to every belonging owned.

While there, we experienced four more tornadoes from May 28 through May 31.

Volunteers were exposed to the threat of destruction and physical harm from winds more than 200 mph, massive thunder and lightning, plus six inches of rain, which only served to hamper movement and created emotional crisis, anxiety and fear for volunteers and storm survivors alike.

Our work at the MARC was the process to helping victims begin their recovery by assisting from the initial registration and progressing through exploration of the various resources at their disposal.

On average, 25 agencies provided services to these needy victims: Red Cross, FEMA, Catholic Charities, Southern Baptist Ministries, Salvation Army, Veterans Affairs, Vet Centers, Oklahoma Housing Authority, local counseling agencies, food banks, shelters and local churches of all denominations.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Opinion
  • A dip in optimism

    Midwestern and Plains states remained in the positive column in a recent economic survey index, but Oklahoma pessimism is beginning to bog them down. The Sooner State’s index dropped from 66.6 to 54.9 from June to July, still in positive ...

    August 2, 2014

  • Invest in more clean energy

    Editor, The Transcript: Ken Miller’s July 19 article, “Okla. Wheat Crop Worst in Nearly half a century,” states the economic hardship that the current drought is having on Oklahoma wheat farmers, who have been forced to feed their wheat to ...

    August 2, 2014

  • Sign petition to put shelters in schools

    Every successful grassroots initiative requires a plethora of volunteers who are willing to do whatever it takes, and the movement to build storm shelters in every Oklahoma public school is no different....

    August 2, 2014

  • Polls that really matter

    The pre-season college football polls make for good reading in the summer months. Coaches and football beat writers weigh in regularly on who they think are the nation’s top teams....

    August 2, 2014

  • Tax free starts today

    A few years ago, Oklahoma shoppers were getting used to driving south to take advantage of Texas’ tax-free weekend. The outlet mall on Interstate 35 near Gainesville was packed with as many Oklahoma tagged cars as those from Texas....

    August 1, 2014

  • Just wondering about things

    Editor, The Transcript: Why are our companies still investing so much in China, now that they own over a trillion dollars of our debt? Why is China pouring billions into their military and threatening many of their neighbors? Why don’t we ...

    August 1, 2014

  • Top conservatives, liberals

    Three local lawmakers made the lists of top 10 conservatives and top 10 liberals in the Oklahoma Constitution’s 2014 Conservative Index. Editor Steve Byas reported that it’s the 36th year for the publication’s index....

    August 1, 2014

  • Marijuana a gateway for new OK voters

    A poll this past year showed significant Oklahoma support for legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The poll showed that more than 71 percent of those surveyed thought medical marijuana was appropriate for patients who ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Expansion effect evaluated

    Editor, The Transcript: The effect of the Medicaid expansion rejection and acceptance on hospitals’ uncompensated costs are now being evaluated....

    July 31, 2014

  • America paying the piper

    Every third American you pass on the street has debts that have been turned over to a collection agency whose 140,000 workers are keeping the phones ringing....

    July 31, 2014