Adam Herndon & Texas Teens Eager to Help Alumni Testimonials from Tornado Victims, Volunteers
I received several text messages from teens in my youth group at Saturn Road Church of Christ on May 20. Most were asking if my family in Oklahoma was safe and if we could do something to help with the EF5 tornado that hit Moore.
When school let out on Friday, we loaded the bus with supplies and took a group of 30 teens to help. As we came north on I-35 from the Dallas area, we finally reached the path of the tornado at the Warren Theatre in Moore. Our bus had been full of singing and laughter for two hours until we pulled up to that spot. Silence came over the bus. Our teens had never seen this kind of destruction before.
We went to Oakcrest Church of Christ in Moore for an assignment and were sent to the Orr Family Farm. We were right in the middle of the tornado’s path. We were in the flat, brown stretch of earth where structures were leveled and blown away. Concrete foundation slabs were all that remained. We could see the Briarwood Elementary School and the Plaza Towers Elementary School beside the property we were cleaning.
Our group was shocked by what they saw. We shoveled a rotting dog into trash bags. We found horse parts strewn about. There were abandoned cars so damaged and out of place that it was hard not to walk up close and admire the power that did such a thing. It was the definition of destruction. One of our teens said it looked like something you see in movies with special effects. It was so severe and massive that it didn’t seem real.
We worked at the farm, then headed to the Arcadia area near Edmond to help a family friend and OC employee, Karen Driskill. Her property was hit by a tornado that destroyed their barn and did damage to their property. Our group worked with chainsaws and equipment to clear debris from trees and the barn. Tim (Karen’s husband) was working alongside our group the whole time. It is powerful to work side by side with the affected.
It was a fast trip, but we were shocked and blessed in unforgettable ways.
View more stories from the Fall 2013 issue of Vision magazine.