MOORE — No one knows loss better than the employees of Cantor Fitzgerald, the financial services firm that lost 658 of its 960 New York employees in the World Trade Center attacks.
The surviving employees also remember who were among the first to comfort them after the attack: Oklahomans.
“That's why there was no question but that we would help the victims of the May 20 tornado,” said Howard Lutnick, chief executive officer of Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC Partners Inc.
Lutnick, his wife, Allison, sister Edie Lutnick and dozens of volunteers with the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund came to First Baptist Church in Moore on Monday to personally hand out $1,000 gift cards to each family who had a child in the Moore Public School district at the time of the May 20 tornado and whose home was damaged or destroyed. Volunteers said more than 1,000 families were eligible for the cards.
Maranda Owens said she would use her gift to help replace one of two vehicles that were lost in the tornado along with her house and belongings.
“I've replaced most of the belongings except for the cars, and this will go a long way in helping with that,” she said.
The mother of four said she rode out the storm with two of her children in a neighbor's storm cellar. Her other two children were at school.
“Miraculously, no one was hurt. Not even our dogs. I was sure counting my blessings that night,” she said.
Owens said she was touched by the gift from Cantor Fitzgerald, especially after hearing about the company's losses in the 9/11 attack.
Winfred Chiles, the father of two children, said the money will help with expenses that have accrued since the storm.
“I'm very grateful. This will really help out,” Chiles said.
Besides losing hundreds of co-workers and friends on 9/11, Howard and Edie Lutnick lost their brother Gary. Helping other disaster victims helps them deal with their loss, Edie Lutnick said.