The daughter of the victim in the deadly attack at Vaughan Foods breaks her silence.
Kelli Hufford took a deep breath as she prepared to share with the world how the tragic death of her mother, Colleen Hufford, 54, has impacted her family.
"The reaction of the family was, I think, like everybody," Hufford said her family was shocked. "[We] questioned, ‘Are you sure?' ‘Is this really her?' Are you positive?'"
Hufford admitted the disbelief wore off in the days following the attack. Colleen Hufford was killed on Sept. 25 in the attack at Vaughan Foods where she worked as a customer service representative for two-and-a-half years before the incident.
"There was a ton of people around the city and multiple people around the states that she talked to on a daily basis."
Kelli Hufford said the support from those people helped ease the pain. That, paired with the lessons they learned as victims of the tornado on May 20, 2013, taught her how to be courageous in times of grief. She said her mother was resilient when they lost their home in the tornado.
"We saw how strong she was through the tornado and how she wanted to continue on, as hard as it was to sift through the pieces that are left."
Kelli said she wanted to follow her mother's example during, even, the unthinkable. She also called the tornado a blessing in disguise looking back.
"We were able to bond a lot during that time," said Kelli, because she and her daughter, 5-year-old Riley, lived with her parents the last year.
Kelli said the memories will lift her up on down days. She said Colleen was a loving wife to her father, an adoring mother, and a fantastic grandmother. Outside of the love for her family, Colleen will be remembered for her love of landscaping and hockey.
Kelli Hufford said her mom has been the biggest fan of the OKC Blazers and OKC Barons hockey team, and had been since the family attended their first game on Christmas Day 1992.
In closing, she promised her family will carry on their traditions in honor of her mother, and said the best way to honor her mother is to move forward.
“We know deep down inside she would want nothing less than for us to keep continuing on,” said Kelli.