OKC Police Officer Remembers Tornado One Year Later

Tuesday, May 20th 2014, 5:24 pm
By: News 9

One of those devastated by the May 20th tornado was an Oklahoma City police officer, who lost his home when the tornado tore through his southwest Oklahoma City neighborhood.

He, his wife and their one-month-old baby girl were taking shelter inside their underground cellar when it hit.

They have a new home now not too far away from their old home. They say they will never forget that day when it turned their lives and so many other lives upside down.

"It's something I will always think about, but I'd really rather not," Koelsch said.

This is what Cody, his wife Amanda, and baby girl Sailor encountered on that devastating day. Their home was gone and their neighborhood in ruins, but the three of them were okay.

"That's the important thing, you know," said Koelsch. "We're all okay, we're all still here and we can all live to tell about it!"

Koelsch says he was flooded with an overwhelming feeling as he came out of his shelter after the tornado tore up his street.

He says he felt pulled in different directions trying to get his wife and one-month-old baby to safety, as well as trying to be an officer, helping others devastated by the storm.

When he drives by his old neighborhood now, all those memories come flooding back of all the devastation and the loss of life, but also a second chance at life for all who survived.

"There's a lot of sadness, but there's a lot of new houses going up," said Koelsch. "Briarwood schools getting rebuilt you know, it is a new beginning for a lot of people."

Cody says that home was their very first home, the home where they first brought Sailor to when she was born.

Sailor is now one, and her momma is just glad she has no memories of the storm.

"I don't think she knows to be scared, luckily since she was so little when it happened," said Amanda Koelsch. "She just slept through it, which was good!"

The Koelschs just moved into their brand new house a couple of weeks ago.

"It's good to feel like I am finally getting back to something normal," said Amanda Koelsch. "I just felt like I was in a period of transition for a long time."

And now, they have not just one shelter, but two.

"We have one in the garage, and one outside," said Koelsch. "So we definitely took that to heart. I think anywhere I live from now on, I will have a shelter or safe room of some form."

While many have considered moving out of state after the May 20th storm, Cody says this is home and he has no intention of leaving.

"This is where I belong, and this is where I will be." Koelsch said.