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Tragedy in Moore hits close to home for Piedmont residents

By Greg Evans

After the Piedmont tornado two years ago, residents of this community know the devastation a tornado causes as it rips through lives leaving utter destruction and chaos.

Because of that experience, many Piedmont residents are even more willing to do everything they can to help the people in Moore.

“My son Austin had some friends over while the storm was passing through Moore,” Piedmont resident Beth Parrett said.

“We lost our home in the Piedmont tornado. We were trying to compare what we experienced to what happened in Moore, and what happened to Piedmont was just a speck.

“Austin said they were going to need a lot of stuff, so we started collecting everything we could: gloves, boots, everything we had.

“We then went to our neighbors to see if they had anything. We made a few calls and ended up (at the Piedmont Fire Department).”

Those phone calls lead Parrett to the Piedmont Fire Department and to News Channel 9.

“We’ve set up a drop-off station at Fire Station One,” Chief Andy Logan said. “We’re taking donations for items to meet immediate needs of rescue workers and those affected by the tornado. These items include trash bags, shovels, masks, work gloves and water.”

Parrett has spoken with Lauren Nelson of News 9, so they will have a place to drop off the collected goods. The donation center will be open as long as people are donating.

Logan said the Piedmont Fire Department did not receive a request from the county to assist in the recovery efforts as the area is already overwhelmed with fire support.

Five officers from the Piedmont Police Department went to Moore Monday evening to assist.

“It was very devastating,” former Moore police officer and current Piedmont Police Chief Alex Oblein said. “And we didn’t even get into the hardest hit areas. Our main role was to provide security to the affected area, work intersections, to restrict access to the damage zone and to help deliver water and supplies.”

The Canadian County Sheriff’s Office also assisted in Moore on Monday. The CCSO sent Sheriff’s Deputies to South Oklahoma City and Moore to assist emergency responders in the aftermath of Monday’s outbreak of deadly tornados.

In response to calls for assistance, the Sheriff’s Office sent seventeen individual units, including two canines to assist with search and rescue efforts in Oklahoma City and Moore.

“We had a lot of help two years ago, and I wanted to make sure we did our part to return the good will of those first responders who came to our county,” said Randall Edwards, Canadian County Sheriff.

With severe weather threatening the Oklahoma City metro area two days in a row, the Sheriff’s Office was in standby mode to respond to potential tornado outbreaks in Canadian County, but when the storms struck further south and east of the county the Sheriff’s Office mobilized and sent resources to help those in need.

“We’re Oklahomans, and that’s what we do… We help each other,” said Edwards.

The hearts, thoughts, feelings and prayers of Piedmont have been with the residents of Moore because many residents here know that feeling of complete loss.

“My heart goes out to (the people of Moore),” Mayor Valerie Thomerson said. “I heard some say that they have been hit three times in five years, my heart really goes out to
that community. They always rebuild. When they do, they come back stronger and better. I know its going to happen this time too.”

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