CARNEY, Okla. — It didn’t seem as if Carney resident Robbie Clark had a lot to be happy about Wednesday morning as he picked through the rubble of his grandmother’s home. A tornado that skirted Lincoln County Sunday is to blame for the wreckage.
The home’s roof is nowhere to be seen, some of the walls are collapsed and an uprooted tree rests up against it. Several smashed cars were parked nearby — all totaled, Clark said. Plastic, paper and other tattered debris waved in the wind, stuck on fences along U.S. Highway 177.
“We come out pretty lucky,” he said, citing the devastation in Moore that flattened thousands of homes and killed 24 people. Clark’s grandmother, girlfriend, parents and girlfriend’s daughter huddled in the storm shelter as the tornado passed by. They were unharmed.
Just like in Moore, many have stretched their hands to those in need. Church groups, the Red Cross, neighbors and strangers have offered the Clarks aid. He explained in rural communities, even not during a disaster, everyone helps each other out.
“I hate to see this happen but it sure makes you see how many good people are left in this world,” he said.
Clark, an 18-year veteran of the Carney Fire Department, was a responder May 3, 1999, tornado in Moore.
Sunday, he watched helplessly from a truck as the tornado shredded through his town, leaving him with an empty feeling inside. He listened to his cell phone as his loved ones hunkered down in his grandmother’s cellar. A tree fell on the house, the roof was shredded and walls imploded. After the tornado was clear, he worked to free them. His father told him he felt like his ears were popping on an airplane as the tornado passed over. The winds were so powerful the Clark’s 15,000-pound tractor was shoved 10 feet.
“All this can be replaced,” Clark said, gesturing to the wreckage of his grandmother’s home. “Life can’t.”
Hixson writes for Stillwater NewsPress, a CNHI News Service publication.