TN Task Force One Searches for Survivors in Oklahoma

(Moore, OK) After many members have been up for 36 hours, Tennessee Task Force One has now wrapped up their work on the first day of disaster relief after a tornado hit Moore, OK.

“A lot of our job there was really about making contact with all of the structures, doing searches through all of those structures to make certain nobody was left,” said Dr. Joe Holley.

The team brought six search dogs along, some of whom barked at various spots Tuesday, but they were false alarms.

The 80 task force members went methodically house, by house.

“Sometimes there wasn’t anything to knock on. You just sort of walk through the rubble, run the dogs through there,” Holley said.

Anthony Kirk, a rescue team manager, agreed with Holley that the most difficult part is seeing the complete devastation.

“It’s so spotty and hit and miss. You could be a house over and be fine, and one house just be totally gone,” Kirk said.

Ashley Sylvester knows what that’s like. Her neighbors were pinned underneath the debris while she and her sons were able to leave their storm shelter.

Describing how she got her sons to safety, Sylvester said, “I covered them with my body and talked them through it the whole time.”

Her husband, in Afghanistan, has yet to see the war zone at home. A shoe rack and canned goods were salvaged, as well as an expensive bottle of liquor. But what Sylvester wants most are her memorabilia.

All she can do is pick up the pieces slowly, and be thankful for volunteers like the ones coming from the Mid-South.

“I am overwhelmed. I’m overjoyed that people are coming to help us,” she said.

Dr. Holley said that people in Moore are already taking action.

He said, “I saw amazing human spirit today, helping each other out And those people were offering us food and water. We’re like no, we got this. What can we help you with?”

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