June 6, 2011
Ekpe Udoh Assists In Oklahoma Tornado Relief Efforts
On June 4, 2011, Ekpe Udoh returned home to Oklahoma to assist with the recovery and cleanup efforts underway as a result of the May 24th tornadoes that swept across portions of Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Get a firsthand look at his experience below:
I began the day at the First Baptist Church in Piedmont. The church has served as the staging area for volunteers in the Piedmont area.
The church has also coordinated the outpouring of donations from across the country.
I received my volunteer assignment from the church pastor who has been working tirelessly to identify families in need of assistance in Piedmont. He asked me to go to the Anderson property and help clear debris.
The devastation we encountered driving to our location was severe.
As the pastor was briefing us on our assignment, he shared some information about the Anderson family and their story of survival during the tornado. When we arrived on site, all that was left was the storm shelter that saved their lives and the concrete slab of their home.
Helping me at the Anderson residence were members of the Tahlequah First Baptist Church Youth Choir, Scott Owens who works for the Oklahoma City fire department, and the Hatcher family from my hometown of Edmond.
The work was difficult but together we were able to clear 3 truck loads of debris.
After leaving Piedmont, we drove 50 miles south to Chickasha, another area affected by the tornadoes. I met with Red Cross case worker Gwen Johnson aboard their mobile response vehicle, the EmTRAC, to discuss response and recovery efforts in the community.
After meeting with Gwen, I joined Taylor Kelling on a site visit to a local neighborhood impacted by the storm and met one of the 36 affected families in the area.
The destruction left in the wake of the tornadoes was devastating and tragic. I’m glad I was able to see firsthand the response effort underway and personally join the collective community effort to assist those most in need as they recover and look to rebuild.