News and Tribune

May 31, 2013

A dispatch of tweets chronicle local group’s trip to help Oklahoma storm victims

BY GARY POPP AND SHEA VAN HOY
newsroom@newsandtribune.com

HEADED WEST — Technology is an amazing thing sometimes.

As this article is being typed, Jennifer Corkum is headed west thanks to a connection she made via the “Castleville” game on Facebook.

A woman she met while playing the game lives in Oklahoma and connected her with officials from the First Baptist Church of Norman. Parishioners from the church are helping out victims of the EF-5 tornado in the Oklahoma City area, and Corkum and 11 other volunteers from Southern Indiana were scheduled to arrive by car late Friday night to help out today with recovery efforts.

Technology also allowed for this report, as the following accounts are taken from the tweets posted by Staff Writer Gary Popp to Twitter as he rides with the crew — formally called Indiana Cares — to Oklahoma.

Indiana Cares formed last week after the massive tornado hit the Sooner State, and the travelers include a woman and her two grandsons from Jeffersonville; a Henryville couple; a Greensburg man, 74; and others. For about 13 hours, they journeyed in a five-vehicle caravan, with gas paid for by Bunker Hill Church.

Henryville resident Jimmy McConahay, 39, is one of the people making the journey. He says he’s going to pay forward the relief help he received after the EF-4 tornado hit his home March 2, 2012. He said he expects the site of the tornado to be worse than bombing sites he saw while working as a civilian contractor in Iraq in 2006-07.

Volunteer Angela Mayfield, 35, a bus driver for Greater Clark County Schools, said she’s making the trip “because she’s had a fortunate life and felt called to help.”

Earlier this week, Corkum and Indiana Cares co-founder Jennifer McConahay said they weren’t sure exactly what kind of work Indiana Cares will be doing while there, but the group’s travelers are prepared to do anything from distributing food to shoveling debris.

“We will do whatever needs to be done in whatever capacity they need us in,” Jennifer McConahay said.

The group will deliver a load of supplies that includes toiletries, clothing and food.

During the trip and future visits, the group plans to carry out the spirit of goodwill given only by willing volunteers in times of communitywide crisis.

“You can’t just sit and be, like, ‘Oh, I wish I could do something,’” Corkum said. “Don’t wish. Do it.”

Editor's Note: Due to severe storms in Oklahoma, the group was forced to stop in Carthage, Mo., around 9 p.m, Friday.

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