Angie Merritt Returns for Reunion & Relief Alumni Testimonials from Tornado Victims, Volunteers

Angie (Risley 03) Merritt Administrative Coordinator, Halbert Institute for Missions, Abilene Christian University

Oklahomans really take care of business in times of adversity. Everyone knows that.

On May 20, I was sitting in my office at Abilene Christian University watching the live streaming online and sobbing. My thoughts raced to everyone I knew who could be affected, and the numbers were growing by the minute.

My husband Daniel and I determined we could drive to Oklahoma City for the weekend and we did just that. During our time there, just days after the F5 ravaged Moore again, we helped clear debris from both Daniel’s brother’s and his sister’s homes. At least their homes were standing. Missing the storm’s wrath by 100 yards and about 100 feet, respectively, his siblings were okay. 

But so many others weren’t. Regular street corners had become small restaurants, drug stores, and places of refuge. Oklahomans were taking care of their own before government agencies even showed up.

Two weeks later, Daniel and I made the trip back to Oklahoma, this time with hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards and supplies donated at an ACU fundraiser for the event. The weekend was a bittersweet one for us. While we saw the lingering devastation still all around, we were in town this particular weekend for a reunion with several of my best friends from Oklahoma Christian. It was our first reunion in more than a decade; the time spent together seemed to be a healing salve for everyone.

The friends I made at OC will always be family, and the state of Oklahoma will always be home. Oklahoma helped to raise me in significant ways, and I will forever be proud to know the people there will always welcome me home.

Fall 2013

View more stories from the Fall 2013 issue of Vision magazine.