On May 25, 2013, local lawyers cooked and volunteered in the disaster area for Oklahomans who were impacted by tornadoes, straight line winds, severe storms and flooding May 18-June 2. The same lawyers are still helping survivors through the Oklahoma Lawyers Care group. They are answering disaster-related legal questions. The project is just one example of how people near and far are putting their special talents to use. Volunteer wisely.
"It was probably no more than an hour after the tornado hit Moore that our special projects group started talking," says Christine Sterkel, Director of Oklahoma Association for Justice. It's normal for Sterkel and her team of attorneys to get together and provide service to their communities. When the initial tornado touched down, she saw an opportunity for her team to do more. "We have access to financial resources from our attorneys and we raise money for the American Red Cross, but we also wanted to do something physically."
Like many of her fellow Oklahomans, Sterkel wanted to provide assistance, but she chose to create a unique form of giving back that would adequately use the skills of her team members. And this is how Oklahoma Lawyers Care was born. The association has set up two sources where people can ask questions. Survivors can call a 24-hour hotline at (405) 359-4286, or visit OKLawyerscare.org.
Survivors may call and get assistance regarding insurance claims, disabilities, and any other legal questions related to the disaster. Sterkel is making sure that all survivors are provided with more resources to get their issues resolved. "We're reaching out to El Reno, Shawnee, Carney and [other affected areas] as well." She sees no immediate end in sight to the assistance that they're currently providing to survivors. "We understand that this is something that will take a lot of time. We plan on sticking it out as long as we feel like we're doing good."
Sterkel and her team are turning to the public to help promote the positive efforts of Oklahoma Lawyers Care. "Spread the word about this service. We really, really just want to help," says Sterkel.