I want to thank old friend Blair Humphreys for putting me in touch with Ryan Smith, who has intimate knowledge of what’s it like to lose everything in a tornado, and how best to help such victims after the storm has passed.
My parents lost their home of 37 years 2 years ago on May 24th in Chickasha. It was the home I was born and raised in, basically a farm house on the outskirts of Chickasha. The rebuilding of the home took less than a year but the rebuilding of their lives is just beginning. My dad is 72 and my mom turns 70 this next week and they are essentially starting over with their lives. They are strong and resilient but it has been tough to say the least.
I did write a first hand experience about seeing the destruction of their home for the first time and realizing that although I knew tornados happened I just never thought they would happen to us.
Church groups, family and friends all came out the next day and begin to help clean up. Very helpful but we weren’t quite ready, my parents were in shock and these groups needed someone to lead them in going through all of my parents things. My dad did the best he could do in leading but he and my mother could not make decisions on the spot. Never been through this before. My siblings and I stepped in but we too were traumatize as well but we did the best we could.
Would have been helpful to have people come out and help lead in clean up, people who have done this type of work before and knew how to do basic clean up and recovery.
Lots of water bottles and food were constantly brought out. This was extremely helpful.
Lots of gloves, masks and trashbags donated. Several people offered up self-storage units to my family to store items recovered from the rubble.
Several flat bed trailers were brought out for us to use to transport the recovered items to storage.
A friend loaned my parents a pick up to drive as all of their cars were destroyed.
Lots of on going support many weeks out, showing up every day to find out if there was anything they could do. There was always something to do.
A local church organized lunches everyday for anyone in that community. They reached out to other local churches to help provide the food. This became the spot for people to gather together and share what they were going through…with each other. And to find out other ways that people could assist each other.
Lots of burying the dead of cows and horse took place. Just read that Orr farms had at least 75 horses killed.
The more I read about this destruction in Moore I think it just must be all hands on deck at this point.
Praying we can all find a way to serve and help in effective ways.
Thanks for what you do.
You know the routine: you can hit the NewsOK business page and start posting questions and comments at 9:30 a.m., chat starts at 10 a.m.
Yo, Oklahomies! Bring your appetites and your dancing shoes to the SoundBites concert on Friday, May 10 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. It’s gonna be totally fly, and the best part is… it’s free thanks to SandRidge Energy. (Score!!)
We’ve invited food trucks to park on Robert S. Kerr in front of the Bank of Oklahoma Plaza (between Harvey and Robinson) and they’ll sell their grub during the free concert. Here’s who’s joining us:
Come buy yourself some lunch from your favorite truck and bust a move to some 90′s throwback tunes by My So Called Band.
It’s gonna be all that. See you there!
It feels like a Cure day today. Anyway, same routine as usual today. Questions and comments can start when live chat is posted at the NewsOK business page at 9:30 a.m., the chat starts at 10 a.m.
Forgive me for the lack of posting of late. I’ve got a back-up of material we’ll be delving into starting later today.
You know the routine – you can log in to the live chat on the NewsOK business page and post comments and questions starting at 9:30 a.m. First come first serve. Chat starts at 10 a.m. I’ve got a meeting at 11 a.m., so the chat will end promptly at 10:55 a.m.
We’ve seen a lot of great new ideas popping up from various circles of downtown that have really added life to the community. In the interest of keeping such discussions going, I submit the following developments elsewhere as possible inspirations for further examination:
The first idea is one I heard discussed on the recent ULI bus trip to and from Kansas City – the creation of a Ciclavia. The basic gist is this – every so often, downtown streets are closed on weekend to all but pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Think it can’t be done? Consider that it’s even taken place in the most car centric of all cities – Los Angeles. Go here to read more: http://www.meetup.com/ButtsOnBikes-InlandEmpire/events/52693622/
Also, in the interest of promoting bicycle activities in the urban core, I wonder if a velodrome might be a good temporary use of vacant blighted land in Core to Shore. Read about velodromes here: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/cyclists-try-to-revive-st-louis-venerable-unusual-velodrome/article_fac1c52e-9604-5abf-8919-f67ad1fce0ca.html
Finally, the Cool Cleveland blog has some interesting thoughts about making parking sexy: http://www.coolcleveland.com/blog/2013/04/make-parking-sexy/
Yep, it’s Outlook time again. You can read what people expect to see in 20 years in Sunday’s paper.
Live chat is 10 a.m. today. You can start to log in at 9:30 a.m. on the NewsOK business page with questions and comments, chat starts at 10 a.m.
Let’s shock the nation tomorrow and everyone in the Peake suddenly start chanting this L-A guy’s ode to OKC @ tipoff!youtube.com/watch?feature=…
— Kelly (@kellyogle) April 24, 2013
KWTV’s Kelly Ogle, a far smarter guy than I, is suggesting that Thunder fans adopt this chant and start using it at tonight’s game against the Houston Rockets. What say you?
And in a related matter….
I’m not a big believer in marking 9:02 a.m. on this infamous day. What does it represent? The moment a couple of murderers parked a Ryder truck on NW 5 and knowingly killed 168 innocent people all in the name of … nothing. It was mass murder. And an introduction to the tragedies we’re seeing with increasing frequency.
But 9:03 a.m. Now that’s something special. That was the moment we reminded everyone (as very eloquently stated this week by Patton Oswalt), there are far more good people than bad people in this world.
Recovery began at 9:03 a.m. I didn’t see hatred among the survivors that morning. There was love, compassion, and an overwhelming collective effort to start recovery as soon as possible. Race didn’t matter. Religion didn’t matter (at least not at that moment). Socio- and economic classes didn’t matter. Municipal boundaries didn’t matter. We were all in it together.
We’ve seen so many great revival stories downtown. But Automobile Alley will always hold a special place in my heart. Broadway was already a blighted, abandoned stretch of downtown that seemed to be going nowhere fast. But in the aftermath of the bombing, our community regrouped, and declared we weren’t going to let this tragedy stop us in our prior commitment to better ourselves, through beefing up public safety, through the zoo tax, the MAPS initiatives, the renewed emphasis on improving neighborhoods, the self examination of what parts of our city embarrassed us and the discussion on how to address such concerns.
So the bombing tore up what was already a blighted Broadway Avenue. Were we going to simply board back up the windows? Tear it all down?
Heck no. Today, Automobile Alley is a tribute to the community that, at 9:03 a.m. this day, in 1995, drew together and said “We’re not beaten. We’re Oklahomans. And we will come back back better and stronger.”
God bless all of you. I write this with tears in my eyes. I still mourn the senseless loss of 9:02 a.m. And I’ll never forget the recovery that began at 9:03 a.m.
Mayor Coats Gives Downtown Pep Talk
By Jan Paschal
Tuesday, April 19, 1983
Edition: CITY, Section: NEWS
Mayor Andy Coats sounded a bit like a new coach giving his team a pep talk Monday when he told the Downtown Kiwanis Club what it will take to restore downtown Oklahoma City.
“None of the stores are going to come back to downtown on their own. It’s going to take some work on the part of our business community to make it happen,” Coats told 101 Kiwanis members at the Petroleum Club.
Coats, sworn in last Tuesday as the city’s 29th mayor, had proposed that leading downtown businesses may need to pledge some dollars to attract a nationally known department store as an “anchor tenant” for the retail Galleria shopping mall.
That idea got a cool reception last week from several business leaders. So Coats stopped short of repeating it Monday for the Kiwanians.
“You’ve got to have a lead-horse department store, a Neiman-Marcus or a Sakowitz to anchor the Galleria, because the Galleria, the Myriad Gardens and the Myriad Convention Center must all work together as a piece,” Coats said.
Coats and his predecessor, former Mayor Patience Latting, will participate in the “groundstaking” ceremonies Friday morning for the $5.45 million Myriad Gardens Botanical Bridge.
“The housewives just aren’t going to come back downtown to shop unless we make it an attractive and special place to be. To do that, we need musical events, plays, folk festivals, security and plenty of free or inexpensive parking,” Coats said.
The new mayor warned that Oklahoma City is facing “a resource crunch.”
Earlier reports had shown the city’s sales tax revenues fell $5.49 million below city budget analysts’ projections for the first five months of this fiscal year.
“We’re getting ready to go into the budget process at City Hall and they tell me they’ve identified $700 million in needed capital improvements. The truth is that we have some real problems with sewers, water lines and streets. Of course, it’s not a real problem until it’s your house that the sewer backs up in,” Coats said.
The Oklahoma City Council will consider today whether to pay three local homeowners for damages caused by backups in city-owned sewer lines.
On another downtown-related topic, Coats said the city’s lack of hotel space also is hampering development in the central business district.
We’re investigating Urban Development Action Grants to help build more downtown hotels,” Coats said.
The Oklahoma City Council will decide today whether to set a public hearing for April 26 on two applications for Urban Development Action Grants.
One grant proposal is for the construction of a 200-room hotel next to Presbyterian Hospital, NE 13 and Lincoln Boulevard. The other grant proposal involves renovation of old warehouse buildings in Bricktown in the 100 block of E Sheridan, on E Reno and E California streets. Retail shops and restaurants are proposed for the renovated buildings.