Although homes and businesses have been rebuilt since the May 20 twisters ripped through Moore, peoples lives are a different story.
One of countless victims from the devastating tornadoes, Waldroop still suffers from physical and emotional scars that may never heal. Her daughter, Shannon Quick, died at her side as the EF5 twister mangled sections of Moore and southwest Oklahoma City, and an 8-year-old grandson still is recovering from serious wounds.
Waldroop and her grandson, Jackson, already have undergone multiple surgeries, and more are scheduled for December. For the last six months, Waldroop has been recuperating from a shattered left heel and an injured right wrist.
At the same time, Jackson underwent operations to repair a broken femur, pelvis and shin. Like his grandmother, he has another surgery scheduled next month connected to an injury that sheared off half of his buttocks.
Its kinda like youre on autopilot every single day, Waldroop said from her sons home in Stillwater. I dont know if Ill ever work again. I have pain in places Ive never had before.
The tragedy and those last few minutes with her daughter rarely escape Waldroops thoughts.
I think about it daily, she said. I went onto my daughters Facebook page for the first time recently, and on May 19, she wrote for everyone to be weather alert and safe. Im constantly reminded of her last words, calling for her boys, wanting to make sure they were OK.
Another grandson, 14-year-old Tanner, was uninjured. Both youngsters now live with their father.
Still, Waldroop hopes she can be reunited someday soon with her grandsons.
They are without their mama, and I feel like they need some woman around, she said. I know Shannon would want us to go on, but its hard to give up on a part of your life. You feel like a part of you is missing. Theres a part of you thats gone, and nothing will ever be the same again.
her daughter and the two boys lived together at the Moore home, and all
four were huddled together in a small closet when the twister struck.
part of the healing process, the family came together last Saturday at
Shannons favorite restaurant, Outback Steakhouse, to celebrate her life
and birthday. She would have turned 42 on Thanksgiving Day.
Waldroops son, Jeremy Soulek, said the tornados aftermath has been difficult to cope with for the entire family.
hear her (Waldroop) make the comment, I wish I could erase what
happened the last six months. But when youre dealing with a situation
like this, theres not much time to think. You have to get on with
things. You cant stop life, he said.
there is good news. Jackson is back at school, and although he still
needs more surgeries, hes walking on his own and kicking a football,
Evans consumed more hot dogs than she ever expected after her duplex
was blown away in the tornado. Rescue teams and volunteer groups were
offering quick, easy meals for displaced residents, but one special
hotdog provided by Riverlife Church in Moore led her to a new house and a
renewed sense of stability.
her boyfriend, Craig Smith; and their five children ages 5 to 14
now live in a three-bedroom home built by Gods Pit Crew, a
Virginiabased ministry program, and Riverlife.
(Riverlife) were serving food to the people who had been affected, and I
went over there for a hot dog a couple of weeks after the tornado. They
were interviewing families who lost their homes, so I told them what
happened to us, she said.
By chance, Evans was one of two people selected to receive a new, fully furnished home with no mortgage.
The home, complete with a backyard storm shelter, was built in 19 days, followed by an Extreme Makeover-type ceremony that left the Evans clan blindfolded until the big reveal. It was covered by multiple news organizations.
family had lived in the duplex only four weeks before the tornado hit,
and they know theyre lucky to be alive. wIt (the tornado) was coming
right at us, and we ended up in a freezer at the Neighborhood Market,
having no home, Evans lost her job as a maid in Tuttle because she
couldnt get to work since the family vehicle had been totaled.
Nobody would hire me because they said I had no stability, Evans recalled during a recent interview with Oklahoma Gazette. Its
a whole different story now, and were settling in. Before this, I was
depressed and the kids were sleeping on floors and I had debts I
Evans and the family attend Riverlife Church. Part of the homes
construction included scriptures that were written on the living room
walls, including Luke 1:37, which reads, For with God nothing shall be
Evans said she knows thats true following the turmoil and angst her family endured since May 20.