Shelter, Donations Available To El Reno Tornado Victims
Sunday, May 26th 2019, 5:19 PM CDT
EL RENO — After the storm tore through El Reno, the community immediately pulled together. The American Red Cross set up a shelter at the VFW Post 382 where donations started to pour in.
Last night, 25 people stayed at the shelter including Monserrath Gallegos.
“It’s really scary when you’re in it,” the young girl said about the storm.
Gallegos and her family rode out the tornado in their mobile home.
“I started to cry,” she said. “I started to freak out. I didn’t want it to happen to my family.”
She said she heard and felt the twister as it hit their mobile home park. Her mother sheltered them inside.
“She grabbed me and my siblings and went to a room and then it just moved the trailer,” she said.
The family survived the EF-3 tornado and were among 25 others who sought refuge at the VFW Post 382, 1515 S. Rock Island Ave., where the American Red Cross set up a shelter.
“There are so many people here to comfort you and help you with your needs,” said Cindy Huge with the American Red Cross.
Those needs are the essentials, cots, blankets and food. Then, at daylight, the community answered the call, lining up to drop off donations of water, clothing, toys. You name it, they brought it.
“They come, they donate what they can,” said volunteer Wes Spencer. “People have donated very little and there’s been big donations, and it doesn’t matter because it’s all very helpful.”
The donations were so great they had to start turning people away. The bulk of the contributions were moved to the Shepherd’s House, at 321 S. Choctaw, where volunteers with the First Baptist Church of El Reno sorted everything for victims to pick up for free.
“We always say we’re El Reno strong,” said Nancy Salsman, a volunteer with the VFW. “Anytime something happens, El Reno comes together. That’s what El Reno does.”
The shelter has been moved to the Jenks Simmons Field, on N. Country Club Road and will remain open as long as its needed. Right now, they are not excepting any more donations but the city has set up a GOFundMe account. To donate, click here.