Pitching in to help
After Hurricane Sandy struck the New York area in the fall, many residents complained that federal and state officials were not rushing to their aid. In Moore, residents expressed gratitude for the response from officials and from their fellow citizens.
So many volunteers have streamed to the worst-hit areas, desiring to help, that it created traffic jams. The city announced on its Web site that the ravaged cemetery was the only place where it needed a hand.
“Due to the overwhelming generosity of our friends and neighbors,” the notice read, “the City of Moore is no longer in need of donations.”
People heard about the cemetery cleanup through Twitter and Facebook, and by mid-morning, close to 1,000 people were working around grave sites that were sodden with water and littered with debris. Two carried a plastic tub through the crowd, asking volunteers to deposit photographs they found strewn around the cemetery. The photos will be dried out and posted on the city’s Web site, along with hundreds of others that residents have been finding and turning in.
Sean Evans, a pastor whose church was among 20 that helped sponsor the cleanup, said the effort was a priority.
“We’ve got a lot of families who are going to need to bury their loved ones,” he said. “We want them to be proud of the cemetery.”
Tami McKeever, 54, a retired accountant, drove to Moore from her home in rural Cashion, 40 miles away, because she wanted to do something. Her own town has been hit by a tornado that came within half a mile of her house.
“It hits close to home,” she said as she picked up bunches of debris and stuck them into a plastic bag. This is Oklahoma. People want to do something. It’s not a big thing. But it’s something.”