Local resident recalls childhood in ‘Tornado Alley’Published 10:58am Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Television images from Moore, Okla., and Monday’s deadly twister, have brought back memories of home for Fergus Falls resident Jeannie Wofford.
“We went into the cellar a lot when we were kids,” Wofford said. “Probably three to four times or more a year.”
Wofford grew up across the state from Moore, but said Monday’s storm cell passed over the area where she lived. Smaller “pencil tornados” were seen in the area, but nothing as damaging as what was experienced near Oklahoma City.
While her family and friends are safe, Wofford said the stories and pictures she has seen on the news are disheartening.
“I live here, but that will always be home to me,” Wofford said. “I just wish I could be there to help.”
A high school friend who moved to the area told Wofford that it was the first time in his life he had to load up his truck and outrun a storm.
But for all the stories she’s heard, Wofford knows there are still more to come as the recovery begins.
“I’m sure a lot of people I know don’t have access to the Internet, so it’s just been by mouth,” Wofford said. “I just pray for everyone’s safety.”
Even with the hardship, Wofford knows the people of the state to be determined and is sure the tight-knit community will pull together.
“Boomer Sooner strong, that’s what they are,” Wofford said. “They’ll all work together and get through this.”
Fergus auctioneer Cary Aasness also has close ties to the state. He has traveled to Oklahoma for auction events since the mid 1990s. He also owns a ranch in Pauls Valley, which is about 35 miles from Moore.
While his ranch was not affected by the storm, Aasness said he’s driven the area around Moore for years now.
“It’s hard to picture it in your mind,” Aasness said. “Pictures are never able to tell the true devastation of something like that.”
He plans to help with the catastrophe in any way he can and has already reached out to associates and friends he knows across the state. Much like Wofford, he knows Oklahomans to be a resilient people.
“They’ve gone through this before,” Aasness said. “It’s just like Otter Tail County and this area here. People shed a lot of love and work hard together.”