Volunteers Search For Memories After El Reno Tornado
Volunteers spent the day today rummaging through tons and tons of tornado debris in El Reno, trying to find anything they could salvage. Pictures. Wedding rings. Anything that could give survivors hope.
Most people look at the debris and see a pile of rubble. These volunteers see people’s lives. Their dreams. And their memories. "We're out trying to help salvage some of their things, their pictures at least because most of it is destroyed." Said volunteer Desiree Gotcher.
Volunteer Vickey Leech added, "Just even the smallest things. Baby blankets. Little transformers. They know from having kids themselves that transformer is going to mean a lot to that little five years old boy."
While we were there, volunteers found a wedding band set; a Kindergarten Diploma belonging to Derek Black, awarded to him less than two weeks before the tornado; and military uniform. "It appears to be pre Vietnam military jacket. The last name Gould is on the band." Leech said.
The volunteers came out with stacks of pictures. Toys. A scrapbook. Cherished memories that simply can’t be replaced. "It's, this stuff is irreplaceable. You can get your house replaced and all things in it but the pictures are something that can't be replaced." Gotcher said.
Next week, the rubble will be removed, and we are expecting rain. Anything left will be destroyed. That’s why this work today is so important. "It's really special to be able to give them back some of these things at least to have a sense of what their life was like before." Gotcher said, "I know it's going to mean a lot to them."