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News > Team Vance responds to Moore tornado victims
Relief supplies delivery van and drivers
Members of the 71st Operations Support Squadron at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., prepare to transport donations collected at the base for the victims of the EF5 tornado that battered Moore, Okla., May 20. From left to right are: Senior Airman Jesse Kow, Tech. Sgt. John Rogers, Staff Sgt. Nicole Curran and Master Sgt. Gary Rann. (Courtesy photo)
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Team Vance responds to Moore tornado victims

Posted 5/31/2013   Updated 5/31/2013 Email story   Print story


by 2nd Lt. Thomas R. Barger
71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

5/31/2013 - VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- A tornado with EF5 intensity struck Moore, Okla., the afternoon of May 20, killing 24 and injuring hundreds of others.

Unable to just standby, Team Vance members jumped into action, donating time and supplies to help the tornado victims.

"I'm not the type to sit around and wait. I have to be the person who helps," said Staff Sgt. Megan Lunderman, 71st Medical Support Squadron.

Lunderman, a native of Moore, made her way there after learning that her brother's house had been damaged by the tornado, her mother had been hospitalized and a high school friend's house had been leveled.

"My friend needed help clearing houses," said Lunderman.

But her friend was more worried about his elderly neighbors than his own house.

"My friend was riding out the storm in his now leveled house when his elderly neighbor invited him into his storm shelter and most likely saved his life," said Lunderman.

Senior Airman Georjan Becerra of the 71st Medical Operations Squadron and her husband, Senior Airman Joshua Becerra of the 71st Operations Support Squadron, joined Lunderman to assist with the clean up during the Memorial Day weekend.

"I was amazed that folks would give up time during the holiday weekend to help complete strangers," said Lunderman.

The 71st OSS Weather Flight began collection efforts for the tornado victims shortly after the tornado had passed.

"It hits really close to home," said Staff Sgt. Nicole Curran, the mission services supervisor for the Weather Flight. "Being involved with the forecast and warning folks, you really feel you need to step up and help out," she said.

The Weather Flight established a collection point on base for items needed to aid in recovery efforts.

"Right now, monetary donations and gift cards are the smartest option," said Curran. The monetary contributions will allow victims to buy their specific needs especially as their needs change over the next few weeks, she said.

After rummaging through rubble and clearing what were once houses, Lunderman felt physically and emotionally exhausted. She and her group cleared three or four houses in one day, but after looking around at all of the other damage, "We felt like we didn't do enough," she said.

After the media coverage wanes and focus shifts elsewhere, "The folks here (in Moore) are going to need help in the months to come. I hope people will keep them in mind," Lunderman said.

For those looking to roll up their sleeves, the Moore Volunteer Hotline, 866-484-3500, is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and will direct volunteers where they are needed.

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