Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dear Moore, Oklahoma...

There are some things in life we can't forget. The debris-filled streets of Moore, Oklahoma after last year's devastating tornado pop into my mind every once in a while. My friend Ally and I hopped in her car last year and drove up to Moore a couple days after the tragedy to help. We didn't know what we were going to do... but we had to help. We managed to show up at the exact time volunteers were being organized at a local community center. We were told we'd be going to clean up the cemetery... victims needed to be laid to rest. We walked a mile or so with hundreds of volunteers completely unprepared for what we were going to see.

Devastation. Complete and utter devastation. I remember walking towards the back of the cemetery at one point - I became overwhelmed with emotions and started crying. It was too much. Where do you even start to pick up the pieces. At that moment, a pastor was walking through the cemetery and he stopped and we prayed. That day changed my life

I'm in Oklahoma today - we're doing a live shoot of The Broadcast from Winstar World Casino and Resort. I had some donations to take up to a special education facility in Norman, OK, right outside of Moore. I decided I'd make the trip yesterday before settling in at the hotel. 

I wasn't going to drive up to Moore. It was raining. I was tired. It would take me an hour-and-a-half to get back down to Winstar. I finally decided that I couldn't have driven all that way without checking in on Moore.

That neighborhood you see in the picture above is being rebuilt. Lots of new, beautiful homes. There are still some empty lots. Lots of "For Sale" and "For Lease" signs - I wonder how many people decided to leave.

I ventured over the the cemetery to pay my respects. Again, tears flowed. The before-and-after pics speak for themselves.

So Moore... I will never forget. A constant reminder of how random (yet not-so-random) and precious life is. 

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