News>Airman and Family Readiness Center lifeline for Team Tinker tornado victims
Staff Sgt. Jesse Moen (from left), Rickie Smith, Staff Sgt. Samuel Lollar and Tech. Sgt. Nella Nixon man the phones at the Emergency Family Readiness Center at TInker Air Force Base, Okla., after an F5 tornado tore through the nearby town of Moore. The tornado left more than 340 military and civilian members of Team Tinker without homes or temporarily displaced. (U.S. Air Force photo/Micah Garbarino)
Andrea Collins sorts and folds donations in the Airman's Attic at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. The center is normally open only to active-duty military in need of assistance, but is now open to any member of Team Tinker who has been affected by the tornado that tore through nearby Moore, Okla. (U.S. Air Force photo/Micah Garbarino)
Courtney Engle fills bags in the food pantry at the Airman and Family Readiness Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla. The food pantry, normally open only to active-duty military, has been opened for all members of Team Tinker who were affected after an F5 tornado tore through the nearby town of Moore. The tornado left more than 340 military and civilian members of Team Tinker without homes or temporarily displaced. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Micah Garbarino)
by Micah Garbarino
72nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
5/22/2013 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Immediately after the tornado struck Moore, Okla., May 20, 2013, the Airman and Family Readiness Center here sprang into action, providing assistance to Tinker personnel who desperately needed it.
"One of the first things we did was establish the Emergency Family Assistance Center. We've been running 24/7 operations and that will probably continue through the weekend, if need be," said Rickie Smith, 72nd Force Support Squadron Airman Family and Readiness Center director.
More than 340 members of Team Tinker were displaced by the tornado. It's believed that approximately 140 of those homes are total losses.
"Our phones are ringing off the hook for assistance," Smith said.
The Airman and Family Readiness Center, which is typically focused on the active-duty Tinker population, has expanded many of its services to include Team Tinker's civilian members. The Airman's Attic, which provides clothing and household items, as well as the Food Pantry are open to all those affected by the tornado.
One thing that stands out to Smith is the level of support and volunteering he's seen in the last two days.
"Right now, our cup runs over with donations. We've secured warehouse space on base to store much of it," he said. "We're even getting support from people on our own staff who are without water and power and they're still here, helping others."
Smith said there are still ways people can help assist those members of Team Tinker who are in need. Those ways include the following:
1. Team Tinker members who were impacted by the tornado and need help cleaning their property of debris or making minor repairs to their homes, for example, or those who would like to volunteer to help someone, can call the EFAC to get linked up through their Team Tinker Helping Hands program.
2. With so many displaced people, the EFAC has initiated an Adopt-a-Family Program that can connect Team Tinker members in need of a place to stay with those willing to provide a place.
3. Monetary donations to the Tinker Family Readiness fund can be sent to the Tinker Family Readiness Fund, 6001 Arnold Ave., Tinker AFB, OK, 73145.
For more information about any of these programs or assistance, call (405) 739-2747, 736-3813 or 736-3847.