You know when you see a tragedy and you think... oh those poor families. Never in my wildest dreams did I think today, I'd be sitting in their shoes. I don't wish having to call hospitals to find missing loved ones on anyone. It is the absolute worst to gather the courage to punch in the number, wait for someone to pick up and then blurt out, "I'm in California and looking for family that may have been tornado victims". My sister and I crowd sourced on our social networks (thank you friends and strangers for sharing), we checked the Safe and Well site with no results, I called four OKC area hospitals and finally my local Red Cross.
During this all, I kept thinking about my dad who just celebrated his 60th Birthday on Sunday and now having to search for his older brother that he just reconnected with earlier this year. In the midst of it all, I felt overwhelmed and helpless - the girl that usually has all the answers had none. I compared a map of my uncle's address to a map of the tornado destruction area and cried. I dozed off on the couch. I woke up a couple hours later and checked the Safe and Well site again, still no results.
And then my sister messaged me some six hours later (the longest six hours ever - aside from childbirth) that someone our aunt works with said they are okay. THANK GOD! At this time we still haven't heard from them but now we know they are alive and well.
I have some tips to share in case something like this happens to you:
- Remain calm
- Crowd Source - Share information on your social networks, people want to help
- Call area hospitals - If you are in another state, you can source this information from News sites
- Check American Red Cross Safe and Well site - Check it every hour
- Contact your local Red Cross - Ask to speak to someone in Disaster Services
- Check Facebook for groups - A friend pointed out a group called Moore Tornado Lost and Found
- After 24 hours contact Red Cross (800) RED-CROSS / (800) 733-2767
And then get yourself a drink. You deserve it.
The recovery is going to be long, hard and costly - you can help by donating or purchasing items where proceeds will be sent to Oklahoma. This is not an ad - I love Hello Apparel and think they stepped up to the cause.
Major props to OKC Thunder star Kevin Durant for donating 1M to the Red Cross as well as OKC Thunder.
HUGE THANKS to all my friends and strangers that helped out today by sharing on their social networks, checking on me and sending their prayers and well wishes. Our family appreciates you all and I am sending lots of love and light.
Labels: Family, Hello Apparel, Missing Family, Moore, OK, Safe And Well, Tornado, Tragedy