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Two Days. Two May Tornadoes.


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.

 Damage Sustained at Moore Medical Center
On May 20, 2013 an EF-5 tornado struck the town of Moore, Okla. The mile wide tornado caused extensive damage to the Moore Medical Center. In the photo, the exterior of the medical center show the exposed damage caused from the strong winds in excess of 200 mph. Photo courtesy of Norman Regional Health System

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 command center. This was not the case on that day in May. As I sat alone in the quiet hospital command center, dreadful words came from the live weather updates on TV. A massive, deadly tornado touches down in Norman, Okla., only a couple of miles east of our main hospital (Norman Regional Hospital), where I am working. I suddenly realize our hospitals are no longer in danger and feel a sense of relief knowing staff and patients are safe.

Almost instantly it hits me that massive EF-4 tornado, with winds from 166-200 MPH is heading directly for my family.

Knowing the plan I had been working on for 15 years at the hospital was solid – it only took a split second to realize my plan for my family had failed. Although I protect more than 2,500 people daily, my wife, 6-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son are in the tornado’s direct path without a place to survive.

Immediately, I text my wife pleading for her to drive the 1/8 mile to a neighbor that has a tornado shelter. As expected my fears are realized. I cannot call or text my family, neighbors, or anyone in the area. The tornado has wiped out all communication between us. Watching the storm live from a safe command center was heart-wrenching, wondering the fate of my loving family. Minutes later, I arrive home to a battered car, home, shattered windows in both and smiling kids holding softball-sized hail. It was like an Easter egg hunt with large hail stones for the kids. They had survived in the neighbor’s shelter. Immediately, we implemented a new family plan for the predicted severe weather the following morning.

When I returned home I was wondering how to approach the subject of nearly losing my family, $11,000 home damage, and having to pay the car deductible by taking our best car out of the garage. Instead of addressing any of these topics my only statement to my wife was “There will be storms with high likelihood of tornadoes tomorrow”. She asked, “What time and what is the plan?” We decided she should be at my office by 1pm, since the NWS said storms could form any time after 1 pm. She arrived on May 20, at 1:01 pm and stayed in the safe area while I proceeded to incident command area.

Twelve hours later:

On May 20, 2013 I promised myself to never allow my family to not have a proven plan. My family was to meet me at 1 p.m. in my office. As I dropped my car off and called my insurance carrier to have the windows replaced, I was receiving terrible news. The National Weather Service predicted a chance for larger tornadoes and more super cells after 2 p.m. I emailed all management positions at all three Norman Regional hospitals and every physician clinic to inform them today could possibly be worse than yesterday. As I typically do, I find a quiet place to say a quick prayer asking for guidance and courage to make the correct decisions.

Moore Medical Center Destruction following Tornado
Photo of the destruction the May 20, 2013 EF-5 tornado caused the Moore Medical Center. The medical center took a direct hit from the tornado, fortunately those who sought shelter, patients, and employees were not injured. Photo courtesy of Norman Regional Health System

As fate would have it one nurse manager out of three hospitals called to verify her plan with me. Shortly after our conversation, things changed quickly. Our worst nightmare was about the test every emergency plan we have ever constructed. A deadly EF-5 tornado with winds over 200 MPH was on the ground. Schools were in session, a baby had just been born, and another mother was in active labor. Hundreds of motorists were speeding into the entrances of our hospital, looking for shelter, as our courageous employees pull and direct them to a safe area. All of these innocent people are in the direct path of this monster tornado.

As I sit in the command center, instincts and experience took over. Some of the actions I remember clearly, others not so much. I immediately called for all leadership to join me in the command center at 3:04. It had been 24 minutes since I had put Moore Medical Center (our hospital in the tornado’s path) on alert. Typically, I place all three hospitals on alert when conditions and wind shear are this severe. This was not a typical day.

Now a mile-wide tornado was devastating the city of Moore. Watching live on TV, I informed our CEO that we will have massive amounts of injuries and causalities present to all three of our Emergency Departments from a storm of this magnitude. Our decision was tough – do we call a disaster code while the tornado is in our town and risk employees traveling back to work to save lives?

We did make the decision to call a Code Yellow (disaster code) to prepare staff for the huge influx of patients we will be receiving.  Now with a command center congested with Leaders, it was evident this was as severe as the 1999 or the 2003 tornadoes. We are working diligently to protect lives and save those that are injured. We establish an incident commander and command staff. I quickly remember the lessons learned from Joplin, Missouri after taking two trips to that facility in hopes of better preparing our health system. A majority of our patients, staff and visitors have sought shelter in Moore Medical Center’s designated safe area with the exception of the single Nurse Manager who called me earlier. She was with a physician and another nurse assisting the mother who was in active labor. There were positioned on the second and highest floor.

Photo of the Tornado that Struck the Moore Medical Center
This photo shows the mile wide tornado that struck the town of Moore, Okla. on May 20, 2013. The EF-5 tornado caused massive damage to several hospitals, schools, and hundreds of homes and businesses. Photo courtesy of Chance Coldiron

3:21 p.m.:

About 48 minutes after I called the alert for this hospital (MMC) the EF-5 tornado has already wiped out two elementary schools, hundreds of homes, and killed way too many children and innocent citizens. Then, it slams into Moore Medical Center. The 200-mile-per-hour winds threw a Nissan Altima onto the second story roof above the laboring mother. More than 30 cars have been rolled onto the first floor rooftop. The winds also lifted a commercial dumpster from over 300 yards away and slammed it into the building. The winds ripped parts of the roof off the structure. Horrifyingly, the winds pulled the wall off the second floor surgery suite being used to deliver the baby. It ripped the wall apart like removing the lid off a can. With a 10-foot-by-10-foot hole in the wall, the staff put the patient in another room to protect the mother and unborn child.

Damage Sustained to Moore Medical Center
An EF-5 struck the town of Moore, Okla. in May 2013, causing extensive damage to the Moore Medical Center. This surgery suite shows the extensive amount of damage the tornado caused. This room was being used as a delivery room, before it had to be evacuated. Photo courtesy of Norman Regional Health System

3:30 p.m.:

Working in our command center we hear our extended work family, brothers, sisters, took a direct strike by the deadly tornado. Our command center full of busy command staff, preparing to care for what ended up being 140 patients, fell silent. Ten miles seemed like ten states away. Not a sound could be heard. No one in that room has ever shared what their thoughts were for that 1-2 minute period, but mine were of prayer and hope. Jumping back into action I immediately informed the CEO that we will have a huge loss of life in our hospital structure. We need to send the convoy we assembled 10 miles south of the storm to rescue our work family and patients. We start getting calls from the news media including CNN, and eventually those inside the building reach our command center requesting appropriate actions to take. Staff from Moore Medical Center informed me that they all survived and without injury. My response was that of disbelief and denial.  It would be impossible. I’ve been in this business too long to know that is not how these situations end.

Damage at Moore Medical Center following Tornado
This used to be a welcome/reception area for the Moore Medical Center. An EF-5 tornado with wind gusts in excess of 200 mph, struck the medical center and caused extensive damage to the facility. Photo courtesy of Norman Regional Health System

On a typical day a good plan can save some lives. On days that are not typical, facing two tornadoes with a focus on preparedness, a great plan can save every life in the building, including my family, and our work family.

On May 20, 2013 there were zero injured and zero killed at Moore Medical Center. I will be forever grateful for those that had the heart and courage to execute the plan, the first responders, those that delivered food and water, and every single person that assisted Norman Regional Health System.


Editor's Note: The views expressed by Shane Cohea do not necessarily represent the official views of the United States, the Department of Homeland Security, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA does not endorse any non-government organizations, entities, or services.

Last Updated: 
03/05/2014 - 14:28


Scary stuff

Scary stuff

I warned your president about

I warned your president about the second tornado. He refuses to change and believe or follow the Lord Jesus Christ. Look at Linda Rika's heaven and hell testimony. The Lord says no one is eligible for heaven and many or most do not believe the story. Read Jude before you laugh. He destroyed an entire nation because they did not obey. He says he never changed one word of the entire bible. The bible means exactly what it says. Preachers lie and we all go to hell. Please pray and ask God if the testimony is true. Our country is in for a rude awakening. (6) People   The White House <> To 10/17/14 at 6:03 PM The White House, Washington Dear Rickey: Thank you for writing. My family and I are honored that so many Americans have supported us in prayer. Our country faces enormous challenges, but each day I am uplifted by the enduring spirit of the American people. I know we will meet these challenges if our optimism and hope are met with the necessary will and hard work. We understand that “the strength to go on produces character. Character produces hope. And hope will never let us down,” (Romans 5:4-5). In these times of trial and opportunity, I deeply appreciate your prayers for our country, my family, and me. May God bless you. Sincerely, Barack Obama Visit facebook Facebook twitter Twitter youtube YouTube flickr Flickr itunes iTunes Reply, Reply All or Forward | More   Rickey Young <> To The White House 10/24/14 at 8:40 AM Dear Mr. President, Please pray and ask God for wisdom. We must spend eternity in someplace. He wants you to continue praying and seeking his holy name. He is holy and his sheep hear his voice. Ask if you are listening to God or to Satan. He will not lie. He says , "You must change." Read his word. He did not change one word. Without holiness we will not see him. The rich do not make it to heaven. You and your family need to set an example for others. Many are headed to hell but believe they are on the way to heaven. This is not a hate message. If you pray hard you will find him. We must confess our many sins. In his word he says in Matthew 5:17-18, the law was not changed. You and your family must set the example. We can not force change but we can not force God to change. He said he has not changed. 2,000 years ago the world was a different place. Without holiness we will not see him. We must humble ourselves and pray always. Look at youtube, Pastor Paul Rika, Sierra Leone, and Pastor Kim of The Lord's Church in Korea. Pastor Kim is known for praying many hours to God. He loves each one of us. Please consider his message to the world. Many are not making it to heaven. The earth is the Lord's footstool. I sent a similar message to Steve Harvey. In Sister Linda's testimony she saw Pope John Paul, VI, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Omar Kadafi, her mother, father, and grandmother all in hell. Why would she lie about seeing her family in hell. We need to rethink our understanding of our master's bible. For Holy People who seek the lord: Eternity... What is more important eternity or tomorrow? Jesus returns for a holy church only. People who hate my righteous people and those who send my message for my sake, no gate of hell shall overtake it. Many preachers please man but we must please God. I beg you. Reconsider your relationship with the Father. Pray and ask God if you attend a holy spirit filled church or if you have a holy spirit filled relationship with God. On Friday, 15 February 2013 Jesus told a sinner, Sister Linda of Sierra Leone, only five out of five million people in Sierra Leone would rapture on that date. She named three preachers and two regular worshippers. Many unfortunately do not believe in the rapture or in this message. That means far less than one percent of people in Sierra Leone were heaven ready. He told her you will not find this in the Bible. He decided to fool Satan. He told her he did not change one word of the Holy Bible. Please pray to ask the Lord if the testimony is true. Many have heard of Mary Baxter of East Tennessee and the book she wrote called a Divine Revelation of Heaven and Hell. Jesus gave Ms. Baxter a guided view of Heaven and Hell. In 1976, she advised there would be many to follow her example. Sister Linda is fortunate she returned to tell us of the horrors of hell. She received a grand graphic tour of Hell. She thought sex with one or two people outside of marriage was ok. Jesus said he considers us as a prostitute if we have sex with one person outside of marriage. I am one of his prostitutes. He said if his preachers will not tell the truth he will use his prostitutes. She describes many in Hell and a few on their way to Hell. Some preachers will tell you this is impossible or a “near death experience”. Nothing is impossible with God. Preachers are not telling the truth. They are not telling you about the horrors of hell or the wonders of heaven. They tell you what you want to hear, prosperity. Jesus loves all of us, but there is another side called wrath. Jesus tells each preacher each week what to say. He tells them to speak of Heaven and Hell. Very few preachers speak his message. He loves his preachers. He wants all to go to Heaven. He wants to warn you of the horrors of Hell and the wonders of Heaven. When have you heard a television minister speak honestly about Heaven and Hell. God told us that during the end times there would be many false prophets. The Holy Bible not just the Bible means one thing to God and many things to men. Seek Jesus who the holy spirit teaches and not the Jesus man teaches about. He said, “My heart aches at all the souls being led to hell by false prophets. They are the majority; very few pastors preach My Word. Very few preach repentance. It doesn’t matter if they have many followers or they perform miracles. Even Satan can perform miracles. Do not follow miracles. That is why I said in My Word that many will come to Me on the last day and say, "We performed miracles in Your name," but I will reply, “I do not know you.” Some of you know of the Azusa Street Revival. He appeared during the Azusa Street Revival and he can appear again, but for a holy church, only. Jehovah witness’ have many people believing there are no ten commandments. Seven Day Adventist’s believe God will not burn you forever. Muslims at most believe Jesus was just a prophet. He told Sister Linda to tell Catholics to stop worshiping Mary and that believers practicing false religions will not enter his kingdom. Rich people beware. First will be last if you make it to heaven. Many rich preachers refuse to believe. Give your money to the poor and follow Jesus. Your riches are stored in heaven. You cannot buy your way into heaven. Jesus never had a profit based ministry. Look on the internet at Reverend Park of South Korea’s (heaven and hell) testimony. Our preachers refuse to acknowledge the testimony or tell the truth. Sister Linda saw Benny Hinn in Hell and he could not explain why he was there. Remember he rebuked the disciples for unbelief. God can do anything but fail. Please, please, do not fall in scientific traps. (I do not know this person so it cannot be true.) The Lord Jesus Christ told Sister Linda and Sister Angelica of Ecuador, he never had a church, he never authorized abortions, he never changed the Sabbath, he never worried about money, he never changed one word of the HOLY BIBLE, tithing and leading others to Christ are also important to God, and without praising God, you and I will not see heaven. The Sabbath day issue did not prevent admission into heaven but please do not spend money on the Sabbath. Many falsely believe they will see heaven because they follow the uneducated or educated preacher’s lies or someone’s biblical teaching or understanding. If the teaching does not follow the exact understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ, many will not see heaven. Over 98% of God’s People will spend eternity in Hell. Jesus is returning for a holy church, only. Without holiness we cannot see him. He told people to go and sin no more. He can save anyone. But many of us need to find the living Lord Jesus Christ. He lives. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We need to change our ways and pray and ask God for the correct understanding of his holy bible. You can be satisfied with your relationship with Christ and miss heaven. I am not forcing anyone to read this letter or believe this message, but I have no reason to lie. Why does Satan want to make sure you go to heaven or warn you of hell? Pray and ask God if the message is true. Do not wait to ask. Those who have working eyes and ears may understand. We know who holds the keys to heaven and hell. Please read the entire Holy Bible. He said one with the clothing of Jezebel will not enter his kingdom. Jesus does not look or speak like television ministers and those following false teaching. A lawyer can argue any position based on the wording of the law but this law is written and enforced by only one Judge. Are you going to rely on the words of teachers providing false teaching or are you going to STRICTLY follow his written word and testimony? Thanks, Rickey Gene Young 301 South Third Avenue Humboldt, TN 38343 P.S. IF I AM WRONG WHO LOSES, IF I AM RIGHT WHO LOSES? WHY BE ON THE LOSING SIDE OF THE TRUTH? IF I AM RIGHT, WHAT DOES IT COST? IF YOU ARE WRONG, WHAT DOES IT COST? MANY PRAY IN HELL FOR ETERNITY BEGGING TO LEAVE HELL. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. THEY WILL NOT LEAVE HELL. IS ETERNITY IN HELL WORTH ARGUING OVER AN INTERPRETATION OF A BOOK YOU AND I DID NOT WRITE? IF WE BELIEVE IN THE BOOK SHOULD WE NOT AT LEAST FOLLOW THE BOOK AND NOT THE LIES OF MEN/WOMEN WHO SEEK TO SATISFY YOU BY TELLING YOU IT DOES NOT MEAN WHAT IT SAYS. ASK YOURSELF IMPORTANT QUESTIONS? SHOULD I WORSHIP MARY? WHERE IN THE BIBLE? DID HE CHANGE THE SABBATH? WHERE IN THE BIBLE? MUST I TITHE? WHERE IN THE BIBLE? DOES HE AUTHORIZE KILLING OF BABIES? WHERE IN THE BIBLE? WILL MY CHILD GO TO HEAVEN? WHERE IN THE BIBLE? WILL RICH PEOPLE MAKE HEAVEN? WHERE IN THE BIBLE? IN HEAVEN, WILL FIRST, BE LAST? WHERE IN THE BIBLE? WILL UNRIGHTEOUS AND UNHOLY PEOPLE MAKE HEAVEN? WHERE IN THE BIBLE? THEY ARE LYING TO YOU AND YOU SMILE EACH CHURCH VISIT. WHY NOT ASK THE LIVING LORD JESUS CHRIST BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE?

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