College Students Volunteer In Moore For Spring Break

Wednesday, March 19th 2014, 7:26 pm
By: News 9

Dozens of students from the University of Connecticut signed up for a mystery Spring Break destination.

They knew they would be doing community service, but they did not know they would be in the areas devastated by the May 20 tornado.

The group was in a neighborhood east of I-35 cleaning up debris. They dug up everything from roof shingles to family photos that could have come from miles away. There was even a bicycle that was once lodged in the roof of the home they were working at.

The volunteers said they prepared for their trip to Moore, but they could not prepare for the destruction still evident.

"I was not ready at all to see what still needed to be done, how much still needed to be done and just feel that shock of wow we really need to make a difference," said Carly Davis.

"If I looked out into my back yard and saw all these reminders about what I'd been through it would be terrible," added Lauren Sohn.

Each new item the group found served as a reminder of what many people lost.

"We found washing machines and books and soles of people's shoes," said Danielle Pace. "It's just been an eye-opening experience to know that people have been not only displaced, but lost everything."

While they cleaned up throughout the neighborhood, they heard stories of survival. But for Davis and others on the trip, it was the emotional visit to Plaza Towers Elementary where seven children died that put much of this trip and their volunteer work into perspective.

"They're going to rebuild it brick by brick and that's why we're all here so it just gave us even more motivation, even more fire within us to keep our passion alive."

The group worked with Serve Moore, a volunteer headquarters in Moore. The organization keeps a pulse on where the most need is and directs volunteers to those places. They expect more than 4,000 volunteers to work in Moore during the summer.