JONATHAN SUTTON, STAFF WRITER
‘It was a blessing'
NEWCASTLE — Months of work and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on Perry Robb's nearly complete backyard addition were gone in moments when the EF5 tornado that later hit Moore hit Newcastle Monday afternoon.
The upside: It's all insured.
Not thinking about the potential for severe weather, Robb had called his insurance agent Monday morning since his renovations were nearing completion.
After the tornado hit, Robb got a text message from his agent telling him his paperwork had been pushed through before the tornado, and Robb's renovations were covered.
“It was a blessing,” Robb said.
After spending more than $220,000 building a backyard paradise, Robb was relieved. His contractors were almost two days from finishing the backyard overhaul including adding a pool, pool house, outdoor entertainment center, palm trees and sandy beaches — when Robb's progress and home were destroyed.
“It basically brings you to tears immediately,” Robb said.
With his house in shambles and his new lawn furniture blown away, Robb plans to tear down what remains of his home and rebuild — palm trees and everything.
CARMEN FORMAN, STAFF WRITER
‘He asked us why we were crying'
MOORE — John Monroe Cruise was confused by his parent's reaction.
The 6-year-old was clearly pumped to see his blue bicycle had been replaced by some wonderful co-workers of his mother, Jackie, but his parents had burst into tears when they gave it to him.
“He asked us why we were crying,” Micah Cruise said as he stood next to the pile of pieces of scrap wood and drywall that used to be his home. “He was devastated when he saw our house after the storm, because it was just gone. So I told him we are crying because we are happy for you buddy. Go get it.”
Both Micah and Jackie have dedicated their lives to helping others. Micah is a deputy for the Cleveland County sheriff's office while Jackie works for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
Both said they have been overcome by the generosity of others now that they are in their time of need.
“We have been blessed beyond measure, and we truly feel loved by everyone,” Jackie said.
“I know that sounds kind of cliche, but it's just amazing what you find out in a tragedy or natural disaster and what people you have around you. They will give any and everything they can. Just to help. That's what I find amazing. There are good people out there.”
ADAM KEMP, STAFF WRITER
‘I wish we could find everything for you folks'
MOORE — Hutchinson, Kan., residents Casey Frischenmeyer, 30, and Brian Reeves, 27, made the nearly four-hour trek to Moore with their church after witnessing the seemingly endless devastation and ruin on TV.
The duo, who had never witnessed destruction of this magnitude firsthand, were overwhelmed with shock and disbelief after arriving in the city that was ravaged by an EF5 tornado Monday.
At the first neighborhood where they stopped, ruined vehicles and debris littered the streets. Most houses lucky enough to be left standing were deemed too dangerous to occupy.
Frischenmeyer and Reeves got to work immediately, rummaging through collapsed houses to salvage family heirlooms and anything else intact. They were determined to find anything onto which these families that had lost their livelihoods could hold.
“I wish we could find everything for you folks, but we can't,” Frischenmeyer said.
They often succeeded. On one occasion, they were cleaning out a destroyed property and stumbled upon some family photos. A short time later, the family pulled up, wondering who could possibly be trying to clean through what's left of the home.
The elation the family felt after being reunited with its only remaining pictures was enough of a reason for Frischenmeyer and Reeves to keep pressing through the chaos to restore some hope, no matter how little, to as many families as possible.
KYLE HINCHEY, STAFF WRITER
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