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24 hours after the Tornado... Heroes!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Well, the last 24 hours has been gut wrenching... but we'll survive. We always do. I live in Norman, Oklahoma which is right next to Moore. Moore Medical Center is part of the Health System I work for and I had employees there when the tornado hit. My friends and family live all over Norman and Moore. i have countless friends who are now homeless and two cousins who lost their homes as well - but not their lives... and as horrific as it is to lose all your possessions.. they are just possessions.. stuff.. replaceable.. They are safe. Their children are safe (although we had some very close calls!).

Those employees who worked at Moore Medical Center were true heros.. this is the result of what happened in less than 15 seconds

Despite how horrific it was... there were no employees... no patients.. and one of the 125 community members who sought safety in our walls who were hurt. NONE. The employees drill for this since tornadoes aren't unusual in Oklahoma.. over and over.. we talk about where we'll go to be safe, what's the secondary back up, what's the tertiary backup... how to handle hysteria.. how to lead and project confidence so that others will follow.. and those employees rose to the occasion.. and saved lives as a result.. many lives.

A friend of mine described bracing himself against the door at one end of the hallway while another held the door at the other end... as the building "breathed" with patients and community members huddled between... one of the doors was ripped open and the employee holding it flew out while others in the hallway began to tumble down and out the door.. still others held on while their ears popped and the pressure was almost unbearable.. still no serious injuries! Unbelievable.

Once the tornado had passed the danger wasn't over. These employees had to find a safe passage to lead everyone out to get to medical assistance and away from dangerous gas fumes. They did exactly what they had trained to do. Exit #1 was blocked by debris. Exit #2 was blocked by debris as well. Walls collapsed. Debris dropping from everywhere but they found their way out and were met by the first responders (another group of Heroes).

Here's another friends car

Most of our employees live in the area they work... and they have families they were worried about as well.. but they never left.. not until every last patient was transported to the Command Center where I was located in the wee hours of the morning.. so much commitment to the community we serve..

So much sorrow.

And yet, so much pride.

One quarter of the residents of Moore have lost their homes. ONE QUARTER. If you can and would like to support the residents of Moore, the easiest way to help the Red Cross support the people of Moore is to donate money online at or by texting “REDCROSS” to 90999 (the text will automatically donate $10)

It's been a wild 24 hours.. and I"m going to bed. Thank you for your prayers.


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
ANYVAR54 5/25/2013 10:16AM

    I came to your page because you have been so successful in your weight loss, and found that you work in Moore. I am lifting up those who live in Moore and will talk to my husband about supporting the relief work.

You and your friends have much to go through.

emoticon emoticon

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KALISWALKER 5/24/2013 9:15AM

    You know very tough brave people!

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KPACE7 5/22/2013 11:21PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRIXIETEXAS 5/22/2013 9:56PM

    You have been on my mind so much since I know you are in that area. I am glad to hear you are OK. Praying for all who lost so much!

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DISCIPLINE_DOES 5/22/2013 12:26PM

    God, Annie. I hadn't heard the figure of a quarter of the city losing their homes. I keep reading comments various places from people who don't live in Oklahoma...they complain that people didn't do enough to protect themselves. But I guess you can't understand it until it happens to you. I'm so glad your staff were so well-prepared to do whatever you could!!!

Okies truly are heroes. As itchy as my feet often get for places far and wide, this truly is home and always will be. Glad you and your family and friends are safe!

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SUGAR0814 5/22/2013 12:14PM


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MNABOY 5/22/2013 11:47AM

    Training to be prepared is essential to being able to do the job and cope with the reality of the situation when it occurs. Prayers of Thanksgiving and for comfort and peace for those affected.

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ZEECHA 5/22/2013 8:42AM

    wow--what a story! All that training pays off. WELL DONE! just wow. So glad everyone stayed safe & that there weren't injuries from that. What happened to the guy who blew out the door when it was ripped off? The news from Moore is so heartbreaking to see. Lots of love & light coming to you & Moore.

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STRONG_SARAH 5/22/2013 3:32AM

    Wow, you're right to be proud of your staff. They are fantastic! What a bunch of heros. I can't text there from Italy, but I donated online. Hugs to everyone.

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AEGISHOT 5/22/2013 1:52AM

    You are strong.

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COLUMBINE2 5/21/2013 11:01PM

    So sorry this happened. Tragic...beyond words. Your training paid lives saved. It just doesn't get any more important than LIVES SAVED.

Sooo very sorry.

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MARMAERT 5/21/2013 10:22PM

    can't believe the devastation. how anyone survived - and then to stay around and help!- to me is amazing. you are all to be commended for your unthinking acts of kindness. God bless everyone in your area and especially the parents of the children who were killed. I hope you remember to take care of yourself, too!

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PINKNFITCARLA 5/21/2013 9:24PM

    Such devastation. I am still sending prayers your way and to everyone else affected by this and other tornadoes.

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GETSTRONGRRR 5/21/2013 9:23PM

    Great work kiddo...we're proud of you and your team!

My wife's mom lives in OKC and we still have a house up in thing you can depend on is for the OKC community to come together in a time of crisis!

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WOUBBIE 5/21/2013 9:13PM

    I just don't have the words.


Comment edited on: 5/21/2013 9:13:31 PM

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DAWNSJOURNEY 5/21/2013 9:04PM

    My thoughts are still with you and those you care about .. text sent..

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MLH148 5/21/2013 8:56PM

    Wow. That's all I can say- for you, your community, your bravery, your traumas. I'm texting right now

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MIRA04 5/21/2013 8:32PM

  Glad you and your family are all alive and well. We went thru Sandy last year so I understand what it's like to lose your possessions. Keeping you all in my prayers!

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JUNEAU2010 5/21/2013 8:31PM

    The fact that so many people survived is truly an answer to prayer. Thank you for sharing - I have been through tornadoes, but nothing like this one. I am grateful to you for your on the scenes update.

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ORCHIDLADY56 5/21/2013 8:26PM


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UMBILICAL 5/21/2013 8:25PM

  Praying for you all. I lost a home in a tornado in Moore many years ago.

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JAMIEBOYD328 5/21/2013 8:22PM

    Im praying for yall

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