By B.J. Drye, Editor
Thursday, May 23, 2013 —
By now Stanly County residents are assisting the folks of Oklahoma in their hometowns and here as well.
Jerry Frappier of Norwood left Wednesday for Oklahoma to set up communications systems near where a tornado cut a devastating path Monday.
According to CNHI News Service, the tornado cut a 17-mile path, beginning in Newcastle, Okla., and ending at Lake Stanley Draper. It touched down at 2:45 p.m. and ended at 3:35 p.m., said Rick Smith, warning coordinator at the National Weather Service.
The EF-5 tornado — the top of the scale based on damage and windspeed — packed winds stronger than 200 mph, CNHI reported. Its path was eerily similar to that of an EF-5 tornado that struck Moore in May 1999. That storm — with 302 mph winds, the strongest ever recorded on the earth’s surface — killed 41 people and caused $1 billion in damage, CNHI reported.
Frappier, who is an American Red Cross volunteer has assisted with technical issues during the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, said this storm will not be much different than the ones he dealt with in the past, except much of the needed infrastructure is still in place.
“I go prepared for not “I go prepared for not much of anything so I’m always pleasantly surprised,” said Frappier, who is scheduled to be in Oklahoma three weeks at least.
Unlike Sandy, where Frappier said the first six days volunteers were like the residents — without readily-available gas, food and heat for numerous miles — this storm hit a selected path, leaving outside sources with connections.
“I feel for those people. Those people are totally devastated,” Frappier said.
“I just hope I can do my part to help get them started. If you’re in the area where it was localized, you’re just as bad as Sandy. There’s no difference there.”
The Red Cross now has a tornado app on mobile devices where people can use the “I’m Safe” button to let loved ones know they are indeed safe.
“Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief,” said Shelia Crunkleton, community chapter executive for American Red Cross Carolina Piedmont Region.
Donations can be made by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED-CROSS or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
“These donations help provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters,” Crunkleton said.
Back in Stanly County, The Albemarle Marketplace will donate funds to the American Red Cross.
“I woke up this morning with my heart heavy for the devastation and loss in Oklahoma,” Christy Wood, owner of the store, said Tuesday.
Wood is donating the store’s 10 percent commission on all items purchased through Sunday. The store also has a Red Cross donation can at the cash register.
As of late Wednesday afternoon, at least 25 store vendors had pitched in as well.
“If you buy in their booth specifically, they’re donating an additional 10 percent. That’s awesome,” Wood said.
“We’ve had one after another vendor step up.
“I challenge all businesses in our area to do the same.”
“Let’s show Oklahoma and America we are here to lift them up.”
To submit story ideas, contact B.J. Drye at email@example.com or (704) 982-2121 ext. 25.