Don’t Worry Moore, America Has Your Back

Aidan Sarazen The devastating tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma early last week sparked vast concern throughout the nation. If it wasn’t crushing enough that 24 people were killed, ten of those victims were children. The tornado, with winds up to 210 mph, tore through Moore, leaving nothing but rubble in its path. It is estimated that between 12,000 and 13,000 homes were destroyed, forcing over 33,000 to relocate. Oklahoma’s suffering probably triggered memories of the tragic tornado that destroyed Joplin, Missouri two years ago. If these deadly tornadoes aren’t already similar enough in their destructive manner, the days in which they struck also coincide. The Joplin tornado struck on May 22, 2011, while the Moore tornado struck on May 20, 2013.. Thinking back to the Joplin tornado, America’s response was remarkable. As soon as word spread of the wreckage, people took action. Aid for Joplin took form through the sending of supplies, as well as through people going to Joplin to help rebuild. Latin played a helpful role in the reconstruction of Joplin. Over the summer of 2011, Mr. Cronister took a group of students to help rebuild the destroyed town. Upon arriving, Mr. Cronister was overwhelmed by the devastation. He said that his first thoughts were that any help they’d be able to give would be like “spitting in an ocean.” However, when Mr. Cronister led another group of Latin students down to Joplin over a three day weekend in the fall of 2011, they were taken aback by “the immense progress that had been made” from just a few months earlier. These two trips were such a huge success that during the 2012 project week, Mr. Cronister led yet another trip to Joplin to continue to reconstruct. Mr. Cronister and other members of the Latin community had gotten familiar with Joplin. In speaking for himself and the Latin students that made the trip to Joplin, Mr. Cronister remarked that “although the work was physically demanding, the experience was really rewarding because of how appreciative the people of Joplin were.” When news of the Moore tornado reached Latin, it was only natural that the immediate response would be to help. The Latin community has always been quick to offer aid to suffering cities. Besides helping Joplin, Latin has also given assistance to East coast towns that were afflicted by Hurricane Sandy, people hurt by the Boston Marathon bombing, and medical aid to the many Haitians in need. Mr. Cronister has seemed to embody this eager attitude to give help. As soon as he saw pictures of Moore, he “immediately knew he had to go back.” Reading about and seeing pictures of the devastation “felt surreal” to Mr. Cronister, as he had felt an identical feeling just two years before. He had flashbacks of standing amongst the destruction in Joplin. It is clear, however, that Mr. Cronister is not the only member of the Latin community that is enthusiastic to travel down to Moore and help. Right after the assembly in which Mr. Cronister announced that he’d be bringing a group down to Moore, he stood out in the pit to see if his announcement would appeal to students. He got immediate results. Over 20 Latin students showed interest. Later in the day, Mr. Cronister sat outside of the cafeteria with a signup sheet. Even more students signed up to make the trip to Moore. Its remarkable that Latin students are so willing to help. Many characterize high school students as lazy and ignorant. Obviously, this stereotype does not apply to Latin, as a vast portion of the students are motivated to assist those who are suffering. This motivation is made evident through the eagerness of Latin students wanting to travel to Moore and do extremely physically demanding work in the harsh summer heat of Oklahoma. Although Moore’s situation is a little brighter than Joplin’s was, as it is located near a big city (Oklahoma City), they are still in need of major help. Citizens of Moore, even amidst the tragedy, should be hopeful. The readiness of the Latin community to offer help in rebuilding Moore characterizes America’s fervent desire to band together and help those in need.