Coby Schmerge grabs items being dropped off at a truck in the parking lot of Auglaize Embroidery. The goods will be shipped to tornado-torn Moore, Okla.
Viewing the damage from the tornado that struck Moore, Okla. Monday is almost unimaginable for most people, but resident who lives there says to sit through the storm was even more treacherous.
Diane Brandehoff, a native of Ada, saidthe EF5 tornado is an event she will never forget.
At least 24 people, including nine children, were killed by the tornado, measured at 1.3 miles wide at parts, that went through the heart of the community. More than 230 people were injured by the storm and at least 100 have been pulled alive from the storm.
Brandehoff was relieved to be unscathed, but her voice revealed she was still shook up from the event.
Brandehoff, who moved to Moore for a job opportunity several years ago, was watching television at a friend’s home at 2:59 p.m. watching funnel clouds form. She texted her sister and said she was getting in the closet.
“You always hear people describe it as sounding like a freight train,” Brandehoff said. “That is exactly what it sounds like.”
As scary as an experience as it was, Brandehoff said she is thankful after realizing how much worse things could have been.
While still being in the path, she had relocated from an apartment complex on 19th Street in Moore just days before.
Brandehoff, who had packed her belongings, was planning to move to Tennessee in just a few days after resigning from her job on May 2.
The apartments were at the center of the most powerful spot of the storm and are now little more than rubble.
“If I had still been working there, with the hours I worked, I still would have been sleeping,” Brandehoff said. “I am thankful I was not still in my apartment.”
Brandehoff said her family still lives in the Ohio area, but she had several friends and acquaintances in the most damaged areas.
A friend’s home was likely destroyed, but the person was not home due to a trip to Texas. He has not yet been able to return and survey the damage.
Another friend’s daughter lost her home and the friend’s daughter was at school. They survived the storm but lost their home.
“Everyone is kind of numb around here,” Brandehoff said. “It is not a fun place to be.”
To help the storm victims such as Brandehoff, a group of Wapakoneta residents are collecting goods that will be trucked to Moore, Okla.
Judy DuBois, owner of Auglaize Embroidery, has spearheaded a local effort.
“I came to work Tuesday and we talked about it,” DuBois said. “We tried to think of anything we could do.”
DuBois was able to secure two local truckers, Rick Regula and Jake McElroy, who agreed to transport donated items to the area if someone could come up with a trailer.
Stephanie and Jay Fisher donated the trailer.
DuBois is inviting everyone who is able to volunteer to help in collecting good for the effort.
“We will be collecting from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday (today), 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday,” DuBois said. “The truck will leave here at 6 p.m. Friday.”
DuBois said the goods would be boxed up as they came in and loaded on the semi. She said Wapakoneta Redskins varsity football coach Doug Frye has agreed to enlist several football players to help out with the collecting and boxing effort.
“We are looking for anybody that can volunteer,” DuBois said. “If you can help loading or taking donations it would help.”
DuBois said items being collected include work and latex gloves, non-perishable food, formula, powdered milk, bottle water, soap, hygiene and first-aid products, toilet tissue and tissues.
She noted that nothing flammable could be transported.
Anyone wishing to help with the effort can call Auglaize Embroidery at 419-738-6979.