Red Cross Helps Newalla Family Following May 19 Tornado

Red Cross clients in Oklahoma
"The Red Cross has come through for my family more than we ever expected"

On May 19, Shalan Pearson’s world changed in an instant when a tornado ripped through her home in Newalla, Oklahoma. Now, just an imprint remains of where her home once stood.

“Part of my home was over in the pond,” she said.

The next day, she found herself in the path of the deadly EF5 tornado that hit Moore. She was in the area meeting with the bank to get files on her home in Newalla.

“I was scared and I still wake up with nightmares,” she said. “They told us to all get in the vault and as I looked out the teller's window I could see it coming toward us."

A month and a half later, all that remains on her property is a donated R/V trailer and a couple of tents. The Pearson’s are unemployed and she said they needed all the help they could get.

Pearson, her children of 14 and six years old and husband met with the American Red Cross and received immediate assistance after visiting the Little Axe Multi-Agency Resource Center.

“I needed medications for a back injury and visits to the doctor's office,” she said. “They provided me with the ability to get the medication. I was blown away. The Red Cross has come through for my family more than we ever expected.”

The Red Cross also provided the Pearson family with other financial assistance and they were able to talk with trained Red Cross disaster mental health workers. Caseworkers remain in contact with her to make sure her and her family’s needs are met.

“When I get back on my feet, whenever that is, I plan to donate to the Red Cross,” she said. “Even if I only have a little money.”

The Pearson’s are just some of more than 19,200 clients the Red Cross has assisted across Oklahoma following the May tornadoes. Red Cross outreach teams continue to visit neighborhoods to make sure needs are being met.

"I'm so thankful to hear that. I want myself and my children to be able to talk to somebody after what we've been through," she said as she gave out hugs.

Looking to the future, the Red Cross will be working with partner agencies and state and local government to establish long-term recovery committees.

The Red Cross will also work its partner agencies in Long-Term Recovery Centers. The centers will be in El Reno, Moore and Shawnee. These centers will house the Red Cross and partner agency caseworkers who will help all affected communities recover for years to come.