DURANT —They're needed back home, so country music superstars Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton are headed to Oklahoma.
Earlier this month an EF-3 tornado hit Tushka in Atoka County in southeastern Oklahoma close to where McEntire was raised and not far from where Shelton lives. Now, the friends and native Oklahomans have chosen to host the “Tornado Relief Concert” on May 26 in partnership with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Choctaw Casino Resort as a way to help their hometown neighbors.
The benefit concert will be at the Choctaw Event Center in Durant.
The April 14 tornado hit Tushka in late evening. There were two confirmed deaths, and more than 40 people were injured.
State officials said the tornado destroyed 150 homes and businesses and public buildings in and around the town. Another 47 had major damage, 33 had minor damage, and eight were mildly affected by the storm. All proceeds from the concert will go toward Atoka County's ongoing relief efforts through the Tushka Disaster Relief Fund.
Raised in Chockie
McEntire was raised on her family's Chockie ranch in Atoka County and graduated from Kiowa High School in Pittsburg County. She was actually a student at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant when the late Clem McSpadden hired her to sing the national anthem at the 1974 National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City.
“A lot of people lost a great deal in this disaster and it's particularly close to us because we both consider Oklahoma home,” said McEntire. “We wanted to do something and let the people in Oklahoma know that we love them and we're praying for them during this difficult tragedy.”
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What: “Tornado Relief Concert” hosted by Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton When: May 26 Where: Choctaw Event Center, Durant. Why: On April 14, a tornado hit Tushka in Atoka County. All proceeds from the “Tornado Relief Concert” will go towards Atoka County's ongoing relief efforts through the Tushka Disaster Relief Fund. Tickets: Tickets will be available beginning at 10 a.m. May 6 and may be purchased by phone at (800) 585-3737 or online at www.choctawcasinos.com. Fundraising campaign: In addition to the proceeds raised from the concert, a special mobile fundraising campaign has been set up with The mGive Foundation to raise funds for relief efforts. Fans can text “OKGIVE” to 27722 to make a one-time $10 donation which will be added to their monthly cell phone bill. Funds will be donated to The mGive Foundation for the benefit of the Tushka Disaster Relief Fund. Checks can also be made out to the Tushka Disaster Relief Fund and mailed to: 101 SE 1st Street, Tushka, OK 74525.