Homebuilder Marvin Haworth has built and rebuilt in the Moore area and will rebuild again after yet another massive tornado.
“This is worse than the '99 tornado. It's unbelievable, of what I've seen so far,” said Haworth, who developed the neighborhood and built many of the houses around Briarwood Elementary School, 14901 S Hudson Ave., which was destroyed. “We rebuilt 30 or 40 homes for previous customers in '99. I'm sure I will this time.”
He added, “Everybody's just kind of lost. Luckily, the city government and rescue workers are organized.”
Haworth and other builders reported in Tuesday morning at a blog operated by the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association.
“A lot of people I know lost everything,” he said after driving in the area before authorities locked it down late Monday. “I've been talking to some people this morning. My daughter's boyfriend's little 8-year-old boy was in the Plaza Towers school. They couldn't find him at first. It was pretty scary. They did find him, though. Everyone we know is safe and sound.”
Job sites leveled
Ideal Homes had several homes under construction that were destroyed, said Todd Booze, president of construction for Ideal Homes and vice president of the state builders group.
“We all are OK, but the tornado split between two of our neighborhoods, clipping the north side, wasting about eight homes under construction. Miraculously, it didn't scrape any slabs of existing homeowners, but did heavy damage. Unbelievable mess down there.”
Pete Jackson, president of the Moore Home Builders Association, said neither his own home, about a mile south of the tornado's path, nor houses he has under construction, were damaged. He rode out the storm in a storm shelter. Shawnee Home Builders Association President Greg Brown said none of his homes suffered damage in Shawnee.
Ready to rebuild
Homebuilders were responding to the disaster by early Tuesday.
“In a time such as this, as humans, we can't help but hurt for those who have suffered loss. As homebuilders, we can't help but want to pitch in and start the rebuilding process in any way we can,” said Jeff Click, president of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association.
Click said association members statewide were looking for ways to help central Oklahoma builders, their families, trades, vendors and others affected by the tornadoes in Shawnee and Moore.
“We are currently reaching out to those we know who live and work in these areas to assess their damage and their needs,” he said.
In the meantime, the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association has made its campus at 420 E Britton Road a donation drop-off point for anyone in the state building industry to contribute to the relief effort. Needs include bottled water, canned and dried packaged goods, clothing, shoes, towels, blankets, toiletries, paper goods, diapers and wipes and similar products. Call ahead before dropping off: 843-1508.
“We encourage you to consider providing aid through prayer, through donating goods ... and through financial contributions to organizations like the Red Cross and Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma,” the state association posted on the blog. “We are a trade organization thousands-strong of hardworking, faith-filled Oklahomans. Our hearts go out to, and our prayers go up on behalf of, those who are suffering through loss as a result of this storm.”