The scenes of Moore, Okla., residents combing through the debris left of what had been their lives before Monday's catastrophic tornado hit was heartbreaking to watch. As is normal in disasters, the brave first-responders - police, firefighters and emergency medical workers - could be seen rushing into the affected area to do what they are trained to do in the immediate aftermath of a disaster - save lives. However, it is later, when residents are shown hunting through the rubble of their destroyed homes, looking for simple things like photo albums, or calling the name of a beloved pet not seen since the evening before that the sadness and empathy really kicks in for most people.
The number of lives lost in Moore and other Oklahoma communities hit by the second most devastating tornado in the state's history is currently unknown and probably will not be known for several days. In the storm's aftermath, it was put at more than 50, with many more feared lost in the rubble of flattened homes. However, Tuesday the death toll was miraculously lowered to 24, including nine children. It undoubtedly will change in the coming days.
Through the connection of the human experience, the shock and the sadness on the faces of the residents is felt by everyone. Even though we are not there, we all can feel the pain those people are currently feeling. And we want to know what we can do to help.
The loss is in the tens of millions of dollars. There will be government help through loans to rebuild homes, schools and businesses. However, the other things people need - water, food, medical supplies, blankets and other items like these, we can help with. In the coming days, we are sure the Red Cross will be taking donations from those who wish to help.
We know people in our area will be generous with their help - we always have been in the past when our fellow citizens needed a helping hand.