Jacqueline Sit, News 9
STILLWATER, Oklahoma -- Oklahoma State University Professor Cynthia Nichols and a group of her students packed up and left Sunday morning to help tornado victims in Alabama.
Nichols was heartbroken when she saw the destruction left behind by the deadly tornadoes that swept across the state.
"It's devastating. When I was watching it live, I thought it felt like somebody had ripped out my heart and stomped on it," Nichols said.
Nichols grew up in Alabama and her hometown is now gone, wiped out by a tornado.
"It's one thing to see a town get ripped apart by a tornado, but it's another thing to see your friends lives affected so much and it's not just some random town for me. It's my home."
Nichols and some of her students are going back to her hometown, hauling a truck filled with items donated by OSU students and a Stillwater church. Nichols hopes to provide some help and relief to those trying to recover from the devastating storms.
"We just want to be able to give back and help, give out a teddy bear to kids who need a teddy bear, a hug to someone who needs a hug, cut a tree away if it needs to be cut away."
Joey Nelson, one of Nichols' students, donated his truck for the cause. After graduating Saturday, he left early Sunday morning for Alabama.
"You know, anytime people are in need, you always want to step in and help," said Nelson. "Oklahoma has had its fair share of tornadoes. I've never been affected personally, but I'd like to think if, you know, if I was affected that somebody would come help us as well."
The group will be in Alabama for five days. Nichols is paying for the entire trip, but welcomes any donations. You can visit her website to make a donation.