A Little Axe woman emailed Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association executive director Ed Sheakley earlier this week with a question.
She had a neighbor who lost her house to tornado damage and had a daughter that had played on Little Axe's recent softball state championship teams.
Among the items that weren't able to be recovered were the state championship medals she'd won.
“She asked if there was a way to get the medals back,” Sheakley said. “I got to thinking and said, ‘Yeah, we want to help this person.'”
Instead of just helping this one athlete replace her medal, though, Sheakley had an idea.
Wednesday, Sheakley and the OSSAA announced that the organization would replace all trophies, plaques, medals or state championship T-shirts lost in the storm at no cost.
“We understand that at this time right now, it might not mean that much to them but at some point, we think it will,” Sheakley said.
The memorabilia might not be exactly the same, but Sheakley said it was important to do what they could to restore a little bit of what was lost.
“It's a small token of our appreciation, a way for us to give back to the victims that have suffered this tragic, tragic occurrence,” Sheakley said. “It's just the little things that hopefully we can put a smile on someone's face with that medal — at whatever level. It might be a fifth-place regional track meet or a state championship medal at whatever level, it's still memorabilia that's going to be important to them and maybe not right now because of everything that's going on in the big picture.”
The OSSAA is replacing the items for schools, coaches, directors and students who were awarded the items and lost them in the tornadoes.
Affected people are asked to contact the school for which they participated to let them know of the loss. School administrators can then contact the OSSAA to have the items replaced.
“It's hard for the average person to comprehend what that is like until that happens to you,” Sheakley said. “This is our small way of saying hey, we're thinking about you, we want to help you, we appreciate you that you participated in co-curricular activities.”