September 17, 2013
Caroline McLowhorn, married to Jason Burkart, two daughters Jasmine Burkart 12 and Jo-Jo Burkart 1
Two years ago during the F5 Tuscaloosa Alabama tornadoes, Caroline thought she’d see it all. Three of her friends died in the tornado, and she wanted to start a new chapter for her family.
Her husband Jason came out to Longmont first. He found a beautiful community and plenty of work, so last week he called his wife and kids to make the journey. Two months pregnant with two kids in the car, Caroline made the cross country trip to rejoin her husband. She had to stop at hospitals in Kansas and Colorado due to a pelvic infection, but she eventually made it…just a few short days before the flood.
When her husband’s apartment got flooded, they moved into a hotel, but after six days, their bank account was empty, so they turned to the Red Cross shelter for food, housing, and support. Jasmine made fast friends with the other young girls in the shelter, and everyone doted on Jo-Jo.
Late Monday night, they were able to find temporary housing free for the next two weeks. Every pregnant mother deserves her own bed and a little privacy, so while we’ll miss our new friends, we’re always glad when our shelter residents find a new home.
May 30, 2013
Photo: Ken Garcia
Story: Ken Garcia
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said. “All of the four buildings on my 40 acres are gone”.
Kelly came to the Carney Senior Center where the American Red Cross has set up a distribution center for residents impacted by the tornado. Along with her mother-in-law, Janet Young, they were able to get some gloves and personal hygiene items. Kelly is just one of the thousands of Oklahoman being helped by the Red Cross in Carney, Wellston, Luther, Shawnee, Bethel Acres, Little Axe and Moore.
“Everywhere you look, they’re there,” she said. “They’ve given us food and water. The Red Cross took care of us. I can’t thank them enough.”
Both Kelly and Janet said when they get things rebuilt, they’re going to help their local Red Cross.
“They’ve gone above and beyond and have thought of things I never even knew I would need,” she said.
For more on what the Red Cross is doing in Oklahoma for tornado relief, visit www.redcross.org.
May 28, 2013
Isabel Rodríguez (left), Elizabeth Pérez (center) and Jennifer Pérez visit the Multi-Agency Resource Center set up by the American Red Cross and partner agencies in Moore, OK.
Story by Patricia Rojas
A frantic Elizabeth Perez arrived at Plaza Towers Elementary High School to pick up her daughter Jennifer, 11, just a few minutes after the school was hit by the tornado that struck Moore on May 20th.
Fortunately her husband had already picked Jennifer up, and she was safe at her dad’s home. But sadly two of her classmates had to face the loss of a younger brother and others suffered broken limbs.
Jennifer and her mother are among the hundreds of people who have visited the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) that the Red Cross and partner agencies set up in Westmoore High School in Moore to help residents affected by the tornado. This center is one of four MARCs opened in the impacted areas where residents can access assistance from different government, not-for-profit and religious organizations. The other three centers are located in the communities of Shawnee, Carney and Norman.
Elizabeth found out about the centers through a Red Cross volunteer that visited her neighborhood in one of 45 emergency response vehicles (ERVs) that have been distributing food, meals and cleaning supplies throughout the affected areas.
“A Red Cross worker, with her red vest, went by asking if we had received assistance,” said Isabel Rodriguez, a friend and housemate of Elizabeth’s. “We then received a follow-up from the Red Cross office.”
This is how Isabel, Elizabeth and her daughter arrived at the MARC in Moore where they were able to meet with a mental health specialist from the Red Cross and were able to access the services of the other agencies present at the center.
“The Red Cross suggested we come here for help, so here we are,” added Rodriguez.
May 28, 2013
By Taylor Kelling and Jonathan McNamara
On May 20th, 2013 Ed and Diane Steiner returned to their home in Moore, OK after a normal day. Their house was soon rocked by a devastating EF-5 tornado that severely damaged their home and destroyed most of the structures in their neighborhood. The Steiners survived the tornados in a small closet, the most interior room of their home. “It was pretty fast after we got home… he heard the tornado… you could feel the house being torn apart and I think that tiny space saved us” said Diane Steiner. The Steiner’s were trapped in the closet for about thirty minutes until a woman came to help them break out of the debris.
In the days since the tornado, the Steiners have been impressed by the response from the American Red Cross. “The Red Cross, everyday that I have been here, the Red Cross truck and the volunteers have been up and down the street on an hourly basis” said Ed Steiner, “I know they had 17 miles to take care of… theres 17 miles of destruction… and they are still the same folks… no matter where you are at there is a Red Cross truck.”
The Steiners, who are Red Cross donors, have been amazed how far their donor dollar goes. “You know you give to the Red Cross and you don’t really know where its going… but we’ve been able to see it first hand.” said Diane Steiner.
For more information about the American Red Cross response to the Oklahoma tornadoes, visit redcross.org and follow us on twitter @redcrossokc.