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June 14, 2013

Duncan teachers help with Moore clean-up efforts

DUNCAN — Temperatures hovering near the 100 degree mark Thursday didn’t intimidate Duncan educators. The May 20 Moore tornado had wiped out any trees that could have provided them shade, yet they were determined to help clean up debris.

About 40 Duncan educators’ traveled to the devastated city to lend assistance. Wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Duncan Loves Moore” the group left about 7:30 a.m. and returned about 4 p.m.

During that time, they met with Serve Moore, a relief center run by about 25 churches in the Moore and Oklahoma City area. Serve Moore provided lunch, and all the donated equipment and supplies needed to get the job done.

Group members had three options on how to help, including cleaning up debris field as provided on work orders, scouting homeowners to determine what work orders needed to be written and administrative duties, which involved plugging information into databases.

Merry Stone, incoming assistant superintendent for Duncan Public Schools, said no one stayed behind for administrative duties because everyone wanted to see the Moore community to get a better understanding of the devastation.

“We did a lot of good work, but it was just a drop in the bucket,” Stone said. “It’s going to take years and years for them to recover their town.”

Many of the group members raked debris in designated areas. Stone said the Duncan staff members were glad to contribute to the efforts in Moore.

But with the good provided by Duncan School personnel, there were some difficult moments, too.

Stone said some of the group members made it to a few of the Moore schools. And as they saw the impact of the tornado on the school district, they felt something hitting close to home, Stone said.

“It was hard for all of us who care for children every day,” Stone said. “It like we were a school district coming to help a school district.”

Scenes of damaged or destroyed school buildings gave further reason to why Duncan Public Schools personnel made the trip, she said. And it gave them cause to work even harder to provide aid for the Moore community.

When the teachers, staff members and administrators returned from Moore, they were tired. But each was proud of the hard work he or she put forth. Stone said it was a tough day, but everyone did his or her part.

“We had a lot of people thank us, thank Duncan Public Schools,” Stone said. “We were there to help. That’s the kind of people we have.”

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