Dozens Of Volunteers Comb, Clean El Reno Area Wheat Fields
EL RENO, Oklahoma - They are carefully combing wheat fields littered with debris from the world's widest recorded tornado, which plowed through a rural area just south of El Reno on May 31.
Dozens of volunteers have been hard at work for days. Without the help, farmers say they would suffer a huge loss. Right now is the time for farmers to harvest Oklahoma's most popular crop.
"It's hot," group organizer Debra Levi Clifton said with a smile on her face. "This one time, I'm really thankful for Oklahoma wind."
On a sunny mid-afternoon in Oklahoma, a large group of volunteers from throughout the United States had already been through 400 acres.
"[The group] is just half of what was here this morning," Clifton said. "We were literally working five fields at once this morning, and it was amazing."
Clifton, a farmer herself, organized the clean-up effort. She spread the word on Facebook, and received quite a response.
Arkansas, Wisconsin, Texas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, Indiana and Oklahoma were all represented. Young Kirsten Plank from Houston was set to be in Tennessee for a church mission trip, but her group knew Oklahoma needed its help.
"I don't want anything in return," Plank said. "I just want to know that everyone's happy."
Hoosier Ron Rowlett agrees.
"I wouldn't have traded this experience for anything," Rowlett said. "I know that by the time I've got to go back, I won't want to go back because I want to stay."
Farmers say large pieces of wood and metal can ruin a quarter of a million dollars-worth of machinery and a year's profit.
"This is our paycheck," Clifton said. "We can't get a dime out of this until it's harvested."