MOORE, Okla. – A simple, two-word message was all it took to fill Steve with overwhelming fear.
“It’s here,” his wife texted him as the destructive F-5 tornado passed over the school where she and her coworkers had hunkered down.
With communication lines down, the 60-year-old retired combat veteran began walking from his home to the junior high school where his wife worked. As he rounded a street corner, his eyes filled with tears.
“I saw my wife and her coworker walking down the street, and the first thing I said was, ‘Thank God’,” Steve told Operation Blessing staff as he choked back the emotion and tears.
“We’ve been married for 34 years. We’re always together,” he said with a smile.
But while their marriage has stood the test of time, unfortunately the house where they’ve lived for the past 23 years was not able to withstand the destructive force of the massive tornado that ripped through their community of Moore, Oklahoma.
Their home sustained significant damage—windows were blown out, the siding was ripped off, holes penetrated the roof and debris littered their lawn and streets.
Thankfully, a team of Operation Blessing relief workers and volunteers were making their way through Steve’s neighborhood, offering residents food, water and help.Teams helped tarp Steve’s roof to protect it from further rain damage, boarded up his windows, and removed debris.
“The things I can’t get out to do, they are,” Steve said. “They’re doing such a wonderful job.”
But even beyond the practical help being offered, teams also brought comfort and hope to families working hard to pick up the pieces of their lives.
“They prayed for me…they talked, listened, smiled and laughed,” Steve said. “They just brought a sense of normalcy to what was going on – and that’s what we needed, that’s exactly what we need.”