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An Exercise In, And Demonstration Of... Humanity

Helping To Clean Up Moore, OK

May 26, 2013
Lorie Kramer

This morning, my son and I joined a group of friends and fellow team members and drove down to Moore to help. We were trying to beat Obama into town so we didn't have to deal with that mess on 35. With most traffic signals out, it's 4-way stop slow-goin' on 4th St, etc. Lot of roads closed and 4 lanes now 2 lanes. At one point I crossed Toby Keith St. which I had heard for the first time on local radio when a storm chaser said it the night of the tornado... as he was describing its movement and path. "It's crossing Toby Keith!" he said. He sounded like he was watching something horrible. Now I was looking at what the massive tornado did at that crossing. It is horrible.

Rae, Keri, and some others went in one direction, to check out the needs at a relief location. Me, Lee, K.T, Ann, and Isis, went to help another co-worker, Sherry, who lives in one of the neighborhoods in the path of the tornado...or whoever/however we could help there. Thankfully, our friend's place got missed by about 2 blocks. Her family is safe and well with only debris damage at their home. Since a few days have gone by, most of their issues have been handled, gratefully.

We left her place and literally drove down the street and around the block and just pulled up and got out to dig in wherever was needed. I am very proud to say that we brought water, gloves, trash bags, cookies, pastries and other assorted supplies from my employer Whole Foods Market. Just a drop in the semi truckloads of food, water, ice, etc. that I have seen WFM donate in emergencies over the years, in four states, that I know of, there's more for sure including this one. (Thanks John, Walter & most gratefully, my Ike buddy, Flash & Steve, you are always there.) I brought a few dozen N95 masks from my emergency stash (preper naysayers take note) because I knew if nothing else, there would be insulation fibers all over, and whatever chemicals would be aerosolized during cleanup activities. There was a freon release on the site we worked on. N95 masks .....hint.

The remaining structure of the home in Moore we worked on.
Read to the end to find out the very cool thing about this site cleanup.

As we approached the site, there were a bunch of teenagers with red GO OU shirts already working.

Ann, Lee & Isis making a clear, safe area to move out, and sort, the debris.

The house one lot East. The house in between the two... is the pile in the foreground.

This is the home of the neighbor to the West. He was there working with us.
He didn't want any help right then. He was waiting on his insurance company to arrive.

Someone came up with a blue tarp to cover the items that were "salvagable".
It has still been raining here.

I found a glass figurine, still snuggled in plastic bubble wrap under a brick. A deck of cards, a kitchen knife, some CD's, broken Christmas ornaments and a tree halfway out of its box. I found a new door knob and kick plate assembly still mostly in the soggy box, and a half completed baby quilt project. All kinds of stuff. There was a small table with a drawer within we put any piece of paper found with a signature, or something that might look important.

This section was basically all that was left standing of this home.

Further down the street.

The homes on the other side of the street to the South did not get hit as hard.
Portable toilets were available in the area, as seen across the street.

The following images are as we left the neighborhood to return home.

Portable lighting assemblies and spot lights were seen all over the place.

This is actually a shot down a ditch that runs behind some houses.
So much wood down... everywhere one looks.

Traffic backed up getting into the area on SE 4th St. Approximately 2 pm.
Loads of heavy equipment all along the roadway working to get power restored.

So now for the cool thing about the cleanup. Well, two, actually.

The first is that no one there knew the people who lived in that home, they weren't there...except the guy who lived next door, of course. Most of us didn't know each other. One woman found a piece of paper with the name of the resident on it and tried to call, and left a message. That's the extent of any of our connection to that home, and the people in it. When we arrived it was a mess begining to be cleared. When we left most all of the big stuff was out on the street. There was a huge pile of bricks, a huge pile of wood, and a huge pile of trash. There was an area where saved items were stacked and in tubs and covered with a tarp to prevent further damage. There were people continuing to work when we left.

It was a demonstration in Humans being Humans. Strangers hugging and blessing and thanking each other....and none of them had any connection to that home, or the people in it...except the guy next door. And he was working on that house, instead of his own.

That's how humans are. As Cliff High has recently referrenced...we're anti-fragile. Today was an anti-fragile day and I was glad to be a part of it.

The second cool thing is the only place I saw law enforcement was at an intersection where heavy voltage work was being done. I didn't see FEMA, I didn't see any heavy duty police equipment or such. It was people taking care of each other, and themselves.

The donations pouring into this area are astounding. They report on the radio "No more water, please!" While the Tornado was still happening, cars were lined up for over a mile on the road leading into TV News 9 in OKC to bring supplies and money. Everywhere you look there is some sign or another announcement comes on the radio telling of ways to help and who needs what, where.

Humans, being Humans. No "federal assistance", no forms to fill out, permits to pay for, mucky mucks from which to get approval. No one was getting paid for their work there today. Humans taking care of Humans. And yes, it is/was horrendous and there is much suffering and loss..but look at us. An exercise in, and demonstration of, Humanity. There will be more.

Keep praying Moore, they need it. There but for the grace of God..........

How to help Moore, OK tornado victims

Lorie kramer