Victims Tell Stories Of Fear, Outreach

Oklahoman Published: May 4, 1999
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No power, but the phones are working. Friends called all evening to see if they were OK.

Plunkett works as a dental hygienist in Moore. "I'm not sure I'll have a place to return to work tomorrow.

"God had all of us on this street in His hands," Plunkett said.

"I Just Pray Everyone's All Right."

Mel Stinnett sat in the dark late Monday, thankful the storm spared his family in Newalla. But Stinnett was worried about another family -- his church family in Midwest City.

"My power's out, but things there are so much worse," said Stinnett, an elder at Eastside Church of Christ in Midwest City. "We've tried and tried to check on people, older people especially, but the phones are all down."

Stinnett said he didn't know if the church at 916 S Douglas Blvd. had sustained damage. He was more worried about its hundreds of members that live around Tinker Air Force Base, Rose State College and other local landmarks that sustained damage.

"I just pray everyone's all right," he said. "But with the pictures we're seeing, I know things will look worse in the morning."

Don Dillard works at Tinker and lives three miles from the base in the Dripping Springs housing addition near SE 74 and Hiwassee. He said high winds and lightning assailed his house, but no major damage was done.

"Looking at Tinker, though, the west side especially, it's just gone," he said. "It's hard to believe all the damage that was done in that area."

"We Have People Dropping Off Food, Water, Pillows, Blankets."

Since members of Oakcrest Church of Christ, 1111 SW 89, couldn't go into the damaged area to help, they opened their building as a shelter and collection point.

"We have people dropping off food, water, pillows, blankets. We have lots of people calling in making donations," said Lori Tinsley, a church member.

The church is between Western and Pennsylvania Avenues, about a mile north of the damage.

The church will be open night and day as long as needed, she said. The buildings include space where people can sleep if needed, she said.

The church's telephone number is 631-5534.

Since police are blocking off the damaged neighborhood, "We're letting them come here right now," Tinsley said.

This story was written from reports by staff writers Pat Gilliland, Bob Cramer and Tamie Ross.


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