Idabel, OK- Any disaster is scary, but what comes after it unites one and all.
The National Weather Service upgraded the Idabel, Oklahoma tornado that tore through McCurtain County on Friday, November 4th to an EF-4, the first EF-4 since May 2016.
Idabel has a population of about 7,000 people and can be found in the southeast corner of Oklahoma, Choctaw Country, and with homes destroyed, thousands left without power, one organization set out to assist those in need.
Grindstone Ministries, based out of LeFlore County, Oklahoma, is a national disaster relief ministry that works across the country and have helped in numerous situations within the past three years to help those that needed it the most. Grindstone Ministries has volunteers that came in from all over the country to assist in search and rescue missions, help with clean up efforts, and to help in any way that they could according to Bob Turnbough, Director of Operations for Grindstone Ministries.
Their list of volunteers consists of people with experience in roofing, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, tree workers, and equipment operators.
Turnbough stated that the damage in Idabel compared to the other locations they have deployed volunteers to is different because it’s a small community that is often forgotten about and that resources have been a struggle to obtain and that they have logistical teams all around looking for supplies to assist in their mission.
Turnbough said that Grindstone Ministries is a 501(c)(3) organization and runs strictly on donations and has an outreach of about 400,000 people that make it possible for them to go to where help is needed in a moment’s notice.
And with no end-date in site, Turnbough said they will be there as long as they are needed, but as of right now, they need more people, and they need more resources.
One individual identified as a 90-year-old man from Idabel was killed in Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt issued an emergency declaration on November 5th for Bryan, Choctaw, LeFlore, and McCurtain counties.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is urging residents to report storm damage online to help coordinate their response.
Turnbough said those that have a skilled trade and are interested in volunteering or have resources they would like to donate to send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Janet Schnell covers state and local news for KFRM and KCLY. You can follow the KCLY or KFRM Facebook page for more stories.
KFRM covers news from across the state of Kansas, the Northern part of Oklahoma, and Southern part of Nebraska.
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