The Edmond Sun

May 24, 2013

Memorial service for tornado victims set

Lisa Shearer
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Gov. Mary Fallin announced that a memorial and prayer service will be at 6 p.m. Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Moore. The service will honor and remember the victims of the May 20 tornado that killed 24 people in Moore and the May 19 tornado that killed two in the Shawnee and Carney area. It is open to the public.

“The people of Oklahoma are resilient,” Fallin said. “The grief we are experiencing right now is indescribable. But we have seen tragedy before, and we have recovered and emerged as stronger people and a stronger state.

“This Sunday, I invite the families of those affected by these terrible tragedies, the people of Moore and Shawnee, the state of Oklahoma and all of those who have sent us their thoughts and prayers to attend this memorial service. Together, we can honor those we have lost, pray for those they left behind, and begin to heal together.”

The prayer service titled, “Oklahoma Strong: Coming Together in Faith,” will be at 6 p.m. Sunday. It will be a music and worship service designed to promote healing for the Oklahoma community

The service will take place at the First Baptist Church in Moore, Oklahoma, at 301 N.E. 27th St., Moore.

There is no parking at First Baptist Church. Those who wish to attend the service must park at the Crossroads Mall parking lot, at 7000 Crossroads Blvd., Oklahoma City Shuttles will be available, beginning at 4:30 p.m., to take members of the public to the service.

First Baptist Church has a capacity of 4,500 people. Seating is first-come, first-serve. Seating on the ground floor of the church will be reserved for those who were victims of the May tornadoes. Seating for the general public will be in the balcony area and the church fellowship hall. Overflow seating will be available at the nearby Westmoore High School, at 12613 S. Western Ave., Oklahoma City. Both locations are open to the public.

Hundreds of thousands of supplies have flooded into the metro area for tornado victims, but officials from Moore, Shawnee, Little Axe, Bethel, Carney, Luther and Wellston are now calling for volunteers to come to their affected areas to help remove rubble and debris. The recovery and rebuilding effort will be massive, with Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak estimating it at more than $2 billion. By Friday afternoon, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission reported about 4,300 remaining power outages related to the storms.

The City of Moore is coordinating a call center to help assist with all persons interested in helping with relief efforts. The call center is the central hub hotline for those looking to donate time, non-perishable food items, clothing, toys and monetary contributions. If interested in volunteering or donating resources, call 1-866-484-3500, visit www.ServeMoore.com or visit moore.recovers.org. The phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management stated that 387 people have been treated in local hospitals for tornado-related injuries since Sunday. FEMA is estimating that 1,150 homes were destroyed in the tornadoes, but final damage assessments are not completed yet. As of Friday, more than 3,100 Oklahomans have registered for individual assistance.

On Friday, Gov. Fallin signed legislation directing $45 million from the state’s Constitutional Reserve Fund to the State Emergency Fund for ongoing recovery and rebuilding efforts following this week’s storms. OEM will use the money to leverage federal funds, repair infrastructure, assist local entities and more, the department stated.

Keeping Oklahomans safe — those affected by the storms and those who are volunteering to help aid in recovery — has become a top priority for several agencies.

The Oklahoma City-County Health Department and Blue Cross/Blue Shield Caring Van will provide tetanus vaccinations today. The mobile immunization van will provide services in Oklahoma City neighborhoods impacted by the tornados. Additionally, vaccines will be given from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Moore-Norman Technology Center at 13301 S. Pennsylvania Ave. in Oklahoma City. The free vaccine will be available to all rescue workers, volunteers and residents in areas that were affected by Monday’s tornados.

To date, the Cleveland County Health Department has provided 412 tetanus vaccinations, Pottawatomie County Health Department has provided 284, Lincoln County Health Department has provided nearly 150 and Oklahoma City-County Health Department has provided 138, according to the Department of Emergency Management.

This weekend the Cleveland County Health Department will deploy strike teams in the Moore area to provide tetanus shots and basic first aid. Workers will be in the field from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday through Monday. The Moore branch of the Cleveland County Health Department also will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide tetanus vaccinations. In Pottawatomie County, strike teams will be offering vaccinations on Saturday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Individuals who want to volunteer to help with disaster relief should register on the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps website at www.okmrc.org. OKMRC is designed to bring together different healthcare-related organizations and members of the community, including physicians, nurses, public health workers, and other medical professionals. In addition, volunteers without a background in medical training are needed.

Travel remains difficult through many of the affected areas. The Interstate 35 off-ramp at Southwest 19th Street remains closed, but all other interstate ramps in the Moore area are open. However, transportation officials continue to ask motorists to stay clear of I-35 in Moore if possible to allow heavy equipment easier access to clean-up areas.