GOLDSBY — Kami Beller didn't wait for the worst-case scenario. The wife of Washington football coach Brad Beller reacted fast when she heard about how destructive the May 24 storms were going to be.
In between making sure her family was going to be safe and secure, she took the time to videotape the entire inside and outside of the house for insurance purposes.
A couple of hours later, that video would hold the last images of the Beller house as the family knew it.
The Beller's house in Goldsby was one of several destroyed by the tornadoes that hit the greater Oklahoma City area.
“We knew it was going to be bad when the fire department came by and said it wasn't a matter of when but where (the tornado was going to hit),” Brad Beller said. “I can't believe Kami was in that frame of mind to do something like that, but it's really helped.”
Washington was scheduled to participate in a football camp in Comanche. Less than an hour before the storms hit, Beller and his assistant coaches decided to cancel the trip. And though technology has come a long way, Beller said it was tough to contact 54 players in such a short time span.
They were able to make contact, though, and none of the Washington players were injured during the storms. Some of the players' houses, though, weren't so lucky.
Two players (Jacob Johnson and Bo Nixon) had their houses destroyed, while Brandon Benson's house suffered so much roof damage that his family will no longer be able to live there.
The Beller family stayed with Brad's parents in a storm cellar before coming out to see what had happened. That Tuesday night was a blur, Beller said. But what happened the following day said more about the tight-knit Washington community than anything else.
“There were more than 250 people helping out,” Nixon said. “They were going from house-to-house and just seeing how they could help.
“Football players were among the first ones out there. For high school students to be out there at 7 a.m. without school — that showed me just how much those guys care about us.”
In the ensuing days, Beller would find things in strange places. Beller said pieces of his house were found at the Lloyd Noble Center in Norman.
A Lexington highlight DVD was found at the Riverwind Casino. Beller coached at Lexington before coming to Washington.
But after a couple days of cleaning up, it was back to work. And so far that's the biggest difference with this Warriors club compared to 2010.
“It's been good to get away from everything,” Benson said. “You don't have to worry about cleaning up or anything like that.
“It's just a different attitude in everything we do. We've been a close team before, but I think we're even closer now. Lifting, running, it doesn't matter. We like doing it together as a team.”
The change is evident in Beller, too. He said this upcoming season is going to be different. After a 1-2 start in 2010, the Warriors rallied to reach the Class 2A state quarterfinals in Beller's first year.
“After all the support the community has shown to me and my family the last few weeks, I feel like I owe them a great season,” Beller said. “I'm going to give them everything I've got.”
Driving up to the Beller's house, the driveway remains intact, but that's it. Everything has been bulldozed away, and the Beller family is just waiting for the OK from the insurance company to start rebuilding. The family is currently staying with Brad's parents.
It wasn't a total loss for Brad, Kami and their two daughters. Though Brad Beller said he's not 100 percent sure about what survived, two incredibly important things were not destroyed: the photo albums from the birth of his daughters and his wedding photo album.
“Something like that makes you realize what's really special in life,” Beller said. “In the blink of an eye something can change. It's all about how you respond to these situations. And as a team, we're going to get through it together.”