Nine months after a devastating tornado destroyed two of the district’s elementary schools, the American Red Cross provided support as the final beams were raised on new construction.
Plaza Towers and Briarwood elementary schools were leveled in the Oklahoma 2013 Spring Storms. During the final beam raisings on February 12th and the 13th, the Red Cross provided support for teachers, parents and other community members attending the ceremonies at the two schools.
The Red Cross also had trained mental health volunteers on hand to provide emotional support for those in attendance as well as served drinks and snacks to community members.
“The Red Cross has just been there,” stated Dr. Robert Romines, Superintendent of Moore Public Schools. “I’ll never forget the first conversation we ha was what are your needs? Within days I had no clue as to what our needs were. They kept telling me we’re not going anywhere we’ll be right here. And they have been. I described the relationship to a group this week as, we’re not friends, we’re family.”
Last fall, the Red Cross gave grants to more than four-hundred Oklahoma teachers ranging from $500 to $1,500 to replace classroom supplies that were lost in the tornadoes.
One of those grant recipients was Rhonda Crosswhite who taught 6th grade math in Plaza Towers when the storm hit.
“I know myself I was given a gift card which was very helpful in buying those little things,” Crosswhite said. “Even today you go to get something and you’re like, I don’t have that anymore.”
The Red Cross is also supporting school preparedness programs to keep children safe such as preparedness education curriculum and storm-ready programs in the affected areas.
In addition, the organization is helping lead recovery efforts through long-term case management as part of the Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project.