“People would call or text and say, ‘You need to get away from the TV.’ I would walk away, but it’d draw me right back to it,” said Moseley, who lost her home and a loved one in the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak.
Two years ago, Moseley was inside recuperating from injuries while others cleaned up her property and provided for her family’s needs.
Since then, she looks for opportunities to pay that generosity forward.
Moseley’s closest friends, which include two fellow storm survivors and two disaster relief volunteers, shared her desire to help the people of Oklahoma.
Last week, the group of women headed west with supplies gathered from family, friends and area churches.
Cordova Elementary School also donated approximately 100 T-shirts that the students signed with messages of hope for their peers at Plaza Towers Elementary School in Moore, Okla.
During their two-day trip to Moore, the women bonded with a 9-year-old named Ethan who was in the school at the time of the tornado.
His mother, Kelly, told them about the moment she discovered her son was alive.
“When it was all over, she immediately headed toward the school. When she got there, he was crawling out from under some rubble,” Moseley said.
Ethan’s family also lost their home, which was several blocks from the school.
Ethan had not returned to the site where seven of his classmates died until his mother insisted on walking over with their new friends from Alabama.
“Walking up to that fence with him, it felt like an earthquake was under my feet,” Candace Robinson said.
Ethan was quiet at first but became more animated after finding a Nerf gun amid the rubble and accidentally shooting his mother in the back.
The women learned much about not only what happened in Moore on May 20 but also what did not.
For example, children did not drown at the school; they were found in water as a result of rain that fell over the disaster zone after the tornado.
Also, a teacher was not fired for praying during the tornado, as a satirical web site reported less than a week after the storm.
A teacher from one of the 25 other elementary schools located in Moore told the group that she had her students sing “Jesus Loves Me” so they would not hear the roar of the tornado as it bore down on them.
“She said that she had one little boy who kept asking, ‘Mrs. Dudley, are we going to be OK?’ Finally, she told him, ‘I promise we’re going to be OK,’ because she said at that point she knew one way or another, they would be OK,” Carla McGill said.
In the neighborhood around the school, the local group met storm survivors who had experienced tragedy almost beyond comprehension.
One woman lost her husband to a massive heart attack two days before a tornado took their home.
“She was saying a lot of the things that I know I did two years ago. People just don’t understand until you’ve been in that situation,” said Tammy Knight, whose home in Cordova was also destroyed on April 27.
The group is already planning a return trip to Oklahoma later this summer and also plans to host a school supplies drive for Oklahoma students affected by the tornado.