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Author: Jessica Stapf
I’d been warned before meeting him that he might be intimidating. But, “intimidated” doesn’t even come close to describing what I felt when I first met him. “Petrified” gets a little closer, but even that might not even be strong enough to describe the anxiety and sheer terror I felt.  However, the more I got to know him, the more I grew to love him.He was my father-in-law. A police officer in south Florida, he was always full of surprises and stories.One of my favorite stories to tell is actually one he’s featured in. It’s simple, yet...
Posted On: July 21, 2016
Author: Jessica Stapf
“Check out this embarrassing photo from five years ago!” an unnamed social network tells me every morning promptly at 8:45. You could set your alarm by it. (Half the time, that buzzing notification is my alarm.) Social media flashbacks are all the rage these days and have been for quite some time. “Throwback Thursday,” “Flashback Friday,” the memories and archive apps we know and love. They’re everywhere.For some, these apps and posting trends bring back fond memories like junior prom or college graduation. For some, these apps don’t bring back...
Posted On: April 29, 2016
Author: Shane Cohea
On a typical Sunday in May, I enjoy attending Journey Church and spending time with the family. May 19, 2013 was not a typical Sunday.The National Weather Service had been reporting as early as May 16 that May 19 and 20 could be deadly.For the past 15 years, I have been coaching, leading, and requiring Norman Regional Health System’s 2,500 employees to have a plan to protect themselves and our patients. At the time we had 3 hospitals: Moore Medical Center (MMC) in Moore, Okla. and 2 hospitals 8 miles south in Norman, Okla.  Normally, my family travels the 20 miles with me to the hospital...
Posted On: March 5, 2014
Author: David Myers
History is a great teacher. Associate Pastor Ben Davidson of Bethany Community Church learned a valuable lesson during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that benefitted him and his congregation the morning of Nov. 17, 2013, when a powerful tornado tore through Washington IL. His quick thinking reminds me when disasters occur; having a plan can save lives and help pivot a community toward a strong recovery. I have learned this lesson many times through the faith leaders I’ve engaged as director of the DHS Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships.On Sunday morning Pastor...
Posted On: December 17, 2013
Author: Art Faulkner
There is no question that April 27, 2011 changed the lives of Alabamians. On that one day, our state experienced more than 60 confirmed tornadoes causing widespread devastation. Soon after, we decided to do all we could to make our state safer in the future.In the days, weeks and months following the tornadoes, Governor Bentley and I toured the state and heard the personal stories of disaster survivors.  Many of them told us how they only had moments to find safety while praying for their lives and the lives of their loved ones.They were the lucky ones that day.  No matter how...
Posted On: July 18, 2013
Author: Christopher Vaughan
Almost two years to the day of the Joplin tornado anniversary, a devastating EF-5 tornado hit the town of Moore, Oklahoma on May 20, 2013. The path of the Moore tornado was 17 miles long and two miles wide.   After a devastating event like a tornado, assessing the damages and painting a picture of the affected community is of utmost importance.  The better information first responders and emergency managers have about damaged areas, the more effectively they can prioritize areas of needs and deliver services.From the start of the response, geospatial teams from across multiple...
Posted On: June 7, 2013
Author: Tony Robinson
As you have seen on TV, a tornado leaves behind large amounts of wreckage and debris.  Unfortunately, that debris is generally made up of people’s homes, community buildings, cars, trees, and all sorts of things that a tornado may destroy with winds that can exceed 200 MPH. In order for disaster survivors to even think about rebuilding their homes or their schools or hospitals the debris needs to be picked up and removed.  FEMA and the federal government can assist by helping to pay debris removal costs.Local and tribal officials such as mayors, county commissioners, school...
Posted On: May 24, 2013
Author: Lars Anderson
Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and communities affected by the tornadoes in Central Oklahoma.  We continue to coordinate the federal response efforts in supporting our state, local, and tribal partners on the ground.  Here are a few quick updates on what’s happening now:We’re encouraging those impacted by the storms to apply for FEMA assistance at disasterassistance.gov on their computer or phone, or by calling 800-621-3362.  So far, over 2,200 Oklahomans have applied for disaster assistance.Three Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams are on the ground helping...
Posted On: May 23, 2013
Author: Lars Anderson
Yesterday evening a large tornado touched down near Moore, Oklahoma, leaving massive destruction in its path. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families and communities affected by the tornadoes.At the direction of the President, Administrator Fugate is in Oklahoma to ensure all Federal resources are supporting our state, local, and tribal partners in life saving and safety operations, including ongoing search and rescue.  Yesterday, President Obama declared a major disaster for the State of Oklahoma, making federal funding available to support affected individuals and families in...
Posted On: May 21, 2013
Author: Lars Anderson
As the risk for severe weather conditions continue throughout parts of the Midwest and South, we wanted to take a second to remind everyone in areas expected to see severe weather to take necessary precautions now. We encourage all individuals in areas where severe weather is expected to listen to NOAA Weather Radio, especially as we head into the evening and overnight, and local news for severe weather updates and warnings and to always follow the direction provided by their local officials.Here are a few severe weather terms you should familiarize yourself with now:Severe Thunderstorm Watch...
Posted On: January 29, 2013