Home is Where the Military Sends You. It sent our family to Norman, OK in 1981. The Army sent my dad to graduate school at the University of Oklahoma (OU). Almost two decades later, in 1998, I attended OU to follow in my dad’s footprints. The spring of 1999, during finals week, Moore, OK experienced the infamous May 3rd Tornado. I lived on the 11th floor of Walker Tower and was evacuated that evening to the basement. With the recent tornado in Moore, I’m reminded of all the feelings we had that spring night: Fear, sadness, awe… how could Mother Nature do something so amazing and devastating, so quickly?
Two days later, I was in a car headed to the Will Rogers – Oklahoma City Airport, and we drove through Moore on I-35 headed North. I can best describe the neighborhoods as if a giant had stepped down on the homes and then swept them away. Only foundation, tree trunks, and bricks remained. Houses gone, but homes remained from the hearts of victims.
As many of you may know, Tinker Air Force Base is just down the road from Moore, OK. This morning Steven J. Bleymaier, COL and Commander of the 72nd Air Base Wing, tasked the Airman and Family Assistance Readiness Center (A&FRC) to stand up the Emergency Family Assistance Center (EFAC). He wrote, “This is to ensure Tinker personnel and their families receive effective support during these most difficult times. If your personnel need immediate assistance with food, clothing or emergency financial assistance please contact the Tinker EFAC at (405) 739-2747. ”
COL Bleymaier then wrote, “If anyone would like to “adopt” a Tinker family who has been directly affected by the tornadoes by offering temporary shelter in their home, please contact the EAFC and provide them with the volunteer’s name, the number of family members they can accommodate and the length of time they will be willing to offer assistance.”
The people of Moore and the surrounding towns are amazing. They consist of families who have been there since the land rush and new families seeking a new life in a growing state.
Moore and its sister towns will rebuild, but they need our support and prayers. Please consider assisting the people of that area in the best way you know fit.
- Red Cross $10 Donation: Text REDCROSS to 90999
- Salvation Army $10 Donation: Text “Storm” to 80888
- Donate to United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief Fund at http://www.unitedwayokc.org
- More details on support, reporting your safety, and more visit KFOR’s website.
I encourage all of you to become weather and disaster aware. Download a weather app. But more importantly, have a safe place to go, supplies prepared, and a weather radio. For more information on how to prepare no matter where you serve, please visit the National Weather Service.
Kristin Garcia is a Consultant for Adjacent Applications Inc. and Army Brat. She was born in Indianapolis, IN while her father was stationed at Fort Benjamin Harrison. Living in Kansas, Oklahoma, Germany and Texas allowed her to ability to meet people from many backgrounds while growing up and continues to love to travel. She received her BBA from the University of Oklahoma and MAA from the University of the Incarnate Word. She currently serves as a Mentor Trainer for Western Governors University in Austin, TX.