LITTLE AXE — Cleaning up is the fervent theme this week in Little Axe and other parts of rural east Norman following two tornadoes that ripped through the area Monday. For Bob Davis, owner of the Little River Marina at Lake Thunderbird State Park, the process started Wednesday when crews began salvaging boats from destroyed docks and lifted a 16,000-pound gasoline tank out of the lake. Fortunately for Davis, workers from Underwater Marine Contractors in Ohio already had a job at Lake Thunderbird when the tornado made a direct hit on his marina. "They were working on a dam for the water conservancy; now they’re helping with the salvage operation,” he said. Many families in the area also have begun cleaning debris from their damaged or destroyed homes. They include Keith Bolles, a resident in the Running Deer Hills area south of Rock Creek Road near 192nd Avenue. Bolles told U.S. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, during a brief visit that he appreciated their assistance. "It’s shocking what you accumulate over the years,” he told the congressman. Bolles said his family lost a dog and the home’s tremendous country view. But he’s thankful that everyone at his home is OK, including his wife "who had a feeling she should leave” just before the tornado’s arrival. Bolles said he isn’t sure whether the family will rebuild on the same property. He bought the home six years ago, one he had admired since he was a kid. "You never think that one could come in such a low area,” Bolles said of the tornado, looking out at the landscape. "The prettiest part of this property were these over-200-year-old trees. It looked like a park.” Back at Lake Thunderbird, Park Manager Terry Gibson said workers "swarmed this area like mad” beginning Tuesday to clear roads of downed trees. The main office had its power restored Tuesday and he expects other areas to follow. While the Fisherman’s Point and Little Axe campgrounds will stay closed indefinitely due to more damage, Gibson hopes the park’s north and Clear Bay areas can open early next week once electrical and water services are restored. "We’re picking up, clearing up and going forward,” Gibson said.
Volunteers clean up school propertyCousins Glenn and Mike Rosenfelt were at the Little Axe school administration building Wednesday, their first day on the job of clearing debris. Though still strewn with papers, school supplies and miscellaneous items, the scene had less trash by Wednesday afternoon than it did Tuesday morning. Glenn Rosenfelt said remaining debris should be cleaned up "within a couple of days.” He finds it hard to believe that Little Axe’s football stadium was blown apart by the tornado. Some yards away, LaDonna Cockerham’s wooden desk remains in place while the administration building that surrounded it is gone.