Sunday, as tornadoes danced across the state, a scared Gina Stromski sought safety in the closet of her house in Moore with her little dog, Wylie.
She waited out those storms, praying.
On Monday, she was back in the closet with the dog, talking on the phone with a brother-in-law as the powerful tornado closed in on her neighborhood.
“Maybe it will turn,” she said, just before she and the brother-in-law, John Mullins, lost contact.
On Friday, older sister Gayla Mullins said she is sure Stromski, 51, was praying again as the tornado hit.
Her family takes comfort that Wylie was by her side before she died. The dog was found alive but was too badly injured and had to be put to sleep.
Gayla Mullins said her sister always was among the first to volunteer after disasters, like the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City and the deadly May 3, 1999, tornado in Moore.
One of the few things salvaged from her wrecked home was a certificate from the Red Cross thanking her for her service after the Murrah Building bombing. Also found was a photo of her and others in hard hats. Stromski is hugging someone.
“She was so moved by tragedies to other people and ... injustices — things that just were not fair in life — just to a fault almost,” Gayla Mullins said. “She would give when she didn't have things to give and money to give. She just took everything to heart that way.”
“Gina was a very, very good-hearted person,” said former mother-in-law Wilma Stromski, who still spoke with her once a week.
Stromski was retired and was known for her fierce independence and smarts. Her house at 842 SW 14 had a whole room devoted to OU Sooner football.
A prized possession was a Sam Bradford autograph.
She couldn't flee in her car Monday because she had poor eyesight and couldn't see well when it was cloudy and raining.
‘I'm sure it just caught him off guard'
Also at home with his dog Monday was Randy DeWayne Smith, 39, a laid-off electrician.
His father, Terry Smith, 62, talked Friday of the desperate search to learn what had happened to his son in the hours and the next day after the tornado. He found out at a church.
“I'm sure it just caught him off guard. He usually sits and plays video games sometimes. He might have been wrapped up in that. But I know the sirens went off. I just don't know why he didn't take cover or anything,” the father said.
“I called him and called him and called him, and it just went into voice mail, so I knew his phone wasn't working. That's when I got really nervous.”
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