MOORE — The sticks were broken, but not the spirit.
The hearts and strength was strong of the survivors in Heatherwood addition, a subdivision in Moore that sits a mile and a half east of Interstate 35, as they picked through the devastating rubble of what was once their home.
Monday's deadly tornado might have crushed cars and collapses houses, but it could not wipe out the names etched in concrete.
It could not erase the memories they made under the roofs that were now blown away. It could not keep them from rising again.
Mike Butler looked at the concrete slab below him and tried to figure out what room in the house he was standing upon.
He, his wife, Cate, and family friends dug through a pile of debris, their belongings exposed to open sky.
A football lay in the kitchen, but the oven and all the other major electrical appliances were not yet located.
Two of their small cars sat dented and damaged in the drive way. Their blue Ford Expedition was in the neighbor's front yard across the street, facing the opposite way it had been parked. The color of the houses and the decor on the inside was unrecognizable for what remained on S Fifth Street. Two streets south, houses stood untouched.
Mike Butler, who is in the Air Force and lived in his house in Moore for about 5½ years, was listening to the news on Monday when, about 3:15 p.m., he told his wife they should head to the storm shelter. They heard the train sound, then a woomp sound of what they'd later realize was their house collapsing, then their neighbors' voices calling out to see if they were safe.
They came out to a slab of concrete covered with wood and insulation.
In a month, Mike Butler will head to Korea.
Last Saturday, he and Cate eloped. They spent one night in their house as a married couple.
“Now we don't have to worry about whose stuff is going to go — her stuff or my stuff,” Mike said. “Now, we just don't have stuff.”
While searching through what remained, Mike found his military ID. There's nothing else Mike said he'd miss.