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BAFB reaches out to tornado victims

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Staff Sgt. Amber Corcoran

2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

 

BARKSADALE AIR FORCE BASE — Several 707th Maintenance Squadron Airmen stationed here quickly organized an Oklahoma Disaster Donation Drive at the Barksdale Exchange May 30-31, after news that a category EF-5 tornado hit their home state.

With 16 volunteers working in shifts over the two days and the support of the Friends of Family Support from the Airman and Family Readiness Center, the Airmen set up the donation station and began handing out fliers and taking in goods.

“Most of us [in the 707th] are from Oklahoma and since we’re so far from home, we wanted to find a way to help,” said Tech. Sgt. Cody Wood. “I contacted a donation station in Moore, Okla., ground zero for the tornado, to get a list of items that were really needed.”

The items started to flood in by the cart-full, including children’s clothes, diapers, towels and hygiene products.

“We also requested gloves, wheel barrels, rakes, shovels, bedding, air mattresses and tents,” said Wood. “The tents being the saddest part, since many people were turning down free hotel rooms to stay on their wrecked property in case looters came through.”

A 26-foot enclosed van was rented to transport the palletized and shrink-wrapped goods from here to the donation station in Oklahoma. The 707th team planned to pick up goods from a geographically separated unit in Dallas on the way as well. The goal was to have the van filled to the roof, said Wood.

More than $10,000 worth of items were donated during the drive and will travel 746 miles to reach the tornado victims.

“It’s a very humbling experience to help put something like this together,” said Senior Airman Shaun Williams, 707th MXS. “I’m hoping to ride down with the cargo so I assist with what I can there.”

Though the drive lasted two days, monetary donations can still be made to the Salvation Army and Red Cross for the Oklahoma Disaster Relief.

“Our hearts are in Oklahoma,” said Wood. “Since we’re not there to physically help, to clean up, to help give relief to these broken homes- this is one way we could contribute.”