After an E-F5 tornado ripped through Moore, Okla., on May 20, 2013, thousands of individuals began reaching out through social media, by phone, on our website and through email. It was immediately clear that there would be massive needs and an equally massive desire to help. One such message came from the Jonas Brothers who have been partnering with Convoy of Hope since 2009.
Recording artist Joe Jonas arrived in Moore just a few days after the tornado struck, wearing his Convoy of Hope volunteer t-shirt and ready to help. His first few minutes in the field included a live interview with CNN. “Right after we’re done I’m going to be helping clean up with Convoy,” he said to CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin. “I’m looking forward to be working with some of the people there.”
The people Jonas went to work with were a group of about 50 volunteers that over the next two days cleared many homes of debris left by the tornado. Other than the brief moment to snap a picture with a survivor who recognized him, Jonas and crew stayed busy hauling downed trees, destroyed fences and twisted sheet metal out of one yard after the next. On his second day of volunteering, one volunteer leaned over to Joe and with a kind smirk said, “you’re probably the only celebrity spending Memorial Day weekend in work gloves pushing a wheelbarrow.” To that, Jonas smiled then blended back in to the sea of blue shirts working hard to bring hope to the people of Moore.
Yesterday, we made our way into the heart of the destructive path the Moore tornado left in its wake. Even if you’ve seen damage from an EF5 tornado, it’s still very unsettling. Where the damage was most significant, we walked upon cars that were crushed by the winds like they were aluminum cans and found slabs of concrete where homes once stood.
Talking with survivors, volunteers and even our own Disaster Response Team — one question kept coming up — “Is this like it was in Joplin?” The comparisons to the May 22, 2011 Joplin tornado are certainly warranted and undoubtedly timely.
It was two years ago today that the EF5 tornado plowed through the heart of Joplin, destroying thousands of structures and taking more than 160 lives. Just like the current response in Moore, we were in Joplin within hours lending a helping hand to the people there so it’s hard not to think of Joplin as we assist Moore in the recovery process.
Two years and 225 miles apart, the Joplin and Moore tornadoes will be forever linked by circumstance. But they will also forever be linked by Convoy of Hope and the gracious people who have joined us to help these communities in their times of need. What incredible shared experiences we can all be a part of.
Our digital community is incredible. Many have begun to show support for Oklahoma survivors by posting their own creative use of #HelpMoore to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. We’ve put together a downloadable graphic to get you in on spreading help and hope.
Save the image to your mobile device, have a friend take your photo showing your support and post to your favorite photo sharing community with a message like:
“I’m doing what I can to #HelpMoore. Will you join @convoyofhope and I in showing our support for tornado survivors in Oklahoma? Get your #HelpMoore graphic at: convoy.org/helpmoore”
Check back as we’ll be updating this post with some of your posts.