Wichita man reflects on life-changing experience after Moore, Okla. tornado

Published: May. 20, 2019 at 7:16 PM CDT
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The dangerous tornado threat across much of Oklahoma Monday comes on the sixth anniversary of a large, destructive tornado hitting the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, killing 24 people.

Wichita native Jake Ramstack saw the devastating images on T.V. after the May 20, 2013 tornado. He felt a calling to help right away, so he loaded up a trailer full of supplies and headed south to Moore.

"The totality of it, the end of it all; there was nothing left to really try to save," he says. "It was all gone."

Among the scenes that hit Ramstack was the destruction of an elementary school in Moore where children died in the storm.

"Instead of saying, 'man, somebody should really do something about that, I said, 'I'm going to do this. I'm going to do this right now,'" Ramstack says.

Ramstack made a Facebook post, asking for donations. A few hours later, he loaded up a trailer with food, water and sanitary items and drove to Moore.

In Moore he says his group set up a tent for a few days.

"We ended up with a mountain of water, a medical station. We had a grill and we started cooking food for people that night," Ramstack says.

Six years later, he says one person he met impacted by the tornado especially stood out.

"I remember at one point giving a little girl a flashlight and a teddy bear and saying, 'it's gonna be alright,'" Ramstack says. "And I can still see her looking at me, and it really meant a lot to her that somebody was there."

Ramstack says he'd never seen destruction like the aftermath of the Moore tornado in person.

"They were lucky to have their lives. Some people lost their kids," he says. "I can't imagine what that would be like."

Ramstack says the experience changed his life forever.

"It's made me realize how close it can hit home, and how fast it can happen," he says.

Ramstack says the experience in Moore also made him want to help people more often, whether it's home in Wichita or out of state. He says if the tornado happened today, he'd made the same decision to go.


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