Beyond Park Wise: Helping Oklahoma Heal

Written by Jessica Ma'ilo. Posted in Features, Park Wise

Tagged: , , , , , ,

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Published on May 23, 2013 at 12:01 am with 9 Comments

My home is hurting, MiceChatters.  You may or may not know that I live about five miles South of Moore, OK, where a devastating tornado has taken the homes and lives of so many. I’m so thankful that my family is safe, but I can’t help but be filled with sorrow over what my neighbors and community are dealing with.

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For now, I’m hanging on to happy Disney memories and dreams of the future to get through the very sad reality of today.

If you’re looking for a way to help Oklahoma, please text the word REDCROSS to 90999, FOOD to 32333 or STORM to 80888 to donate $10 via your cell phone bill to the American Red Cross, Regional Food Bank (Oklahoma local food bank) or Salvation Army respectively. 

We always appreciate good thoughts, positive vibes, good mojo, prayers or whatever uplifting energy you send our way.

All of us at MiceAge/MiceChat wish the families of Oklahoma a speedy recovery. Though no amount of money can fill the void left by the loss of a loved one, house, friend . . . it does help families get back on track. We appreciate your assistance in helping Jessica’s community and the lives of thousands who are living in an upside down world right now.

About Jessica Ma'ilo

Jessica is a special education teacher by day and blogger and Fairy Godmother Travel agent by evening. When not supervising play dates or sleepovers, she can be found creating, sewing or singing. She loves hitting the Disney Parks, and she and her family escape to the World and Land as often as they can. She can be contacted at [email protected], and you can also check out her family blog, Magic, Memories, Mayhem.

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9 Comments

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  1. Jessica, we are so thankful that you and your family are safe. You’ve certainly been in my thoughts all week. I couldn’t decide which of the three charities to donate to, so I texted each of them. I hope it gets to the folks who need it most right away.

    • Thanks so much! You’ll really help make a difference!

  2. I’m glad you and your family are safe Jessica. Even though we’ve never met you are a part of my MiceChat Family. Like Dusty I couldn’t decide so I did them all. We wish all of you out in OK nothing but the best for a speedy recovery.

    • Thanks, Gregg! Love having so many talented and supportive fellow Disney geeks.

  3. I’ve visited this site for years, but hadn’t felt the need to lend my voice until now. I live with my wife and three kids in Joplin, MO. Tuesday was the two-year anniversary of our EF5 tornado. What I want the people of Moore to know right now is that you will make it through. You will find yourselves bonding together like never before and life will be more precious to you than it ever has. You can’t picture it now amidst all the debris, but Moore will come back better than ever, just as Joplin has. I speak from all too familiar experience.

    I was born in Southern California and worked at Disneyland as a ride operator from 1982 to 1989. I proposed to my wife on Big Thunder trail. We married in 1985 and then relocated to Joplin in 1991. We couldn’t have imagined what lay in store for us.

    Our son graduated from Joplin High School that Sunday afternoon. He crossed the stage to receive his diploma exactly one hour before the tornado hit. We were on the way home across town when the storm struck. The experience was terrifying. We live 1.9 miles from the major destruction area. The video from one of the storm spotters on YouTube was taken just a few blocks from our home.

    My wife is a registered nurse and works at the hospital that was not destroyed. I found a way through the devastation to get her to work to help the injured. Our house was spared, but in the department where my wife works, eight people lost their homes entirely.

    It’s been a painful experience, but we have also learned that there is more good in the world than we could have imagined. Messages of love, hope and comfort flooded in from many countries around the world immediately afterward. I, like most people in town, found myself hugging people I had never met before. There are no strangers now. We learned very quickly not to say a vague “If there’s anything I can do”, but to ask “What can I get for you right now?” Each member of our family has been a part of the recovery. There have been 147,000 volunteers here in the last two years to help with the rebuilding.

    There have been a lot of tears. We didn’t know any of the 161 killed directly, but did have connections through friends. It still feels like a stomach punch when we drive past where so many of the familiar landmarks were. We lost the high school where our son had made so many memories and where our older daughter would have started last fall. We lost our usual grocery, our favorite restaurant, our dentist’s office and many other places where we had visited or done business. The thousands of huge, beautiful trees we took for granted are gone.

    I could ramble on for hours about the experience in Joplin. There are still many pent-up emotions. But what I want to say again to the people of Moore is that, impossible as it may sound right now, you will make it through. There is more survivor in you than you know. You will find that there is more love and compassion in this world than you could have dreamed of. Our city manager has dubbed the reaction to our disaster and the subsequent recovery as “The miracle of the human spirit.” On behalf of our family and as a former member of the Disney family, I wish you your miracle.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story. It’s an important one. Even in tragedy there is hope.

    • What an unfortunate club to be a part of, but I love how these tragedies really bring out the best in a lot of people. We actually had two days of storms, and those affected in all areas are all helping each other. So amazing! We personally know several who are now homeless and have opened our home to whomever needs it whether for showers, laundry, a place to sleep, a meal. You’re absolutely right about survival. So many of these people, especially in Moore, weathered horrible tornadoes in the past and have rebuilt lives and structures. They will do it again. If I can say one thing about my state: we’re resilient!

      Thanks for sharing your story.

  4. I feel fortunate in that the only tornado I’ve known is the one that delivers Dorothy’s Kansas home to Oz. Dobby and I send our love to your community, especially to those who may have lost their beloved companion animals in this tragedy.

    • Thank you! You’ll be happy to know there are several shelters set up for animals who’ve been found, as well as places to post animals’ photos who have not been. Our city is hosting some of the found animals shelters, and the outpouring of generosity for the pets has been incredible!