Thousands Attend Moore Prayer Service In Honor Of Tornado Victims

Sunday, May 26th 2013, 8:18 pm
By: Karl Torp

Once again Oklahomans are proving they stand tallest with each other. Thousands of people gathered Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Moore for a memorial and prayer service in honor of the May 19 and May 20 tornado victims and survivors.

The event, Oklahoma Strong: Coming Together In Faith, was put together by the governor's office. Gov. Mary Fallin served as emcee.

Getting people to and from Sunday night's memorial service in Moore required creative thinking, because parking around First Baptist Church was practically non-existent. School buses and volunteer bus drivers from 12 Oklahoma school districts were utilized to drive people in from all over the state. 

Also, people were encouraged to drive to Oklahoma City's Crossroad's Mall, where school buses took them to the event.  Sherry Mason was one of the volunteer bus drivers.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

"School bus drivers, we're all about helping people in general you know," said Mason. "It just meant a lot to me to help."

At the memorial service, an orchestra and full gospel choir performed spiritual songs, as did contemporary Christian music artist and native Oklahoman Dennis Jernigan.

Among those in attendance was Jennifer Doan, a third-grade teacher at Moore's Plaza Towers Elementary who lost seven of her students to the twister. Doan suffered a fractured spine and sternum. She was sitting near the front of the church wearing a neck brace.

Children in the audience were seen clutching teddy bears while adults cried and held hands.

A teacher at Briarwood Elementary School in Moore told worshipers that heroes would be on the way after a tornado hit their school.

Some students thought she meant Thunders star Kevin Durant, but Waynel James said Sunday she had in mind emergency workers who came to their aid, plus neighbors who dropped everything to help.

Storms last Sunday and Monday killed 26 and injured hundreds. The program for the service included photos of tornado damage.