Though only a week has gone by since the May 20 tornadoes ravaged the greater Oklahoma City area, it has felt like many weeks to those of us living in the area and, I’m sure, many months to those who have lost their home, workplace, and in some instances a family member (which also includes thousands of pets). While Moore has received the most media coverage due to the shock-value of its mile-wide tornado and the damage sustained, the communities of Carney, Shawnee, Newcastle, Wellston, Prague, Luther, Little Axe, Bethel Acres, Edmond, and southern Oklahoma City also sustained heavy losses.
In the wake of the tragedy, both locals and outsiders alike have rallied to show their support though donations of their time and resources. Some call it survivor guilt, some call it community support, but something has come alive in the people of Oklahoma, and many thousands of people have spent every spare moment of their time shoveling through the debris of Moore or taking food to a family who have only the clothes on their back. Local businesses have stepped up to do all they can, lending their facilities as a drop-off point for donations or providing services at free or reduced rates. One local company refused to have their name said more than once in a radio ad that designated them as a drop-off location. Instead of using a tragedy as a marketing ploy, they used their thirty seconds of radio space to express heartfelt sympathies and provide a means for others to help.
My own office, VI Marketing and Branding, has joined together with other local marketing and design firms to create original “Tornado Tees” in support of relief efforts: http://tornadotees.bigcartel.com/ With themes such as “Never Broken,” “OK Rise,” and “Hope for the ‘Homa,” these shirts express the united strength of Oklahoma residents during this time. Shirts are $25 each, and all the proceeds will go towards the OK Strong Disaster Relief Fund. Buying a shirt is a great way to be involved and show your support, even if you don’t live in Oklahoma.
So what does this have to do with travel and/or food? Well…maybe nothing. But it is a close-to-home topic for me right now and well worth a post.
Many people have wondered aloud (especially in light of recent events) why anyone would want to live in Oklahoma, and especially why anyone would want to live in tornado-prone zones like Moore.
I live in Oklahoma because I see friends all around me, even (and sometimes especially) in the faces of strangers. I rarely pass someone without exchanging hellos.
I live in Oklahoma because you can see the most brilliant sunsets across the flat plains.
I live in Oklahoma because a community of Christians and non-Christians, rich and poor, from every walk of life in every corner of the state can come together to pick of the pieces.
Oklahoma is not broken.
Buildings are broken. Fences are broken. Pavement is broken.
Oklahoma is strong.