Okla. victims supported by events

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, June 6, 2013

In support of the victims of the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma, the Bethesda Restoration Outreach Worship Center in Brundidge will host two events on Saturday at the Piggly Wiggly in Brundidge.

Patricia Valentine, events coordinator, said proceeds from the Worship Center’s yard sale will be donated to the Oklahoma disaster fund, as will the items donated to the Worship Center’s non-perishable food drive. The yard sale will open at 7 a.m. and the food drive will continue throughout the day.

The Worship Center will also have catfish and chicken plates for sale for $7.50. The plates will include either chicken or catfish, French fries, salad, cake and a drink.

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In the event of rain, the yard sale and food drive will be in the back section of Bethesda Restoration Outreach Worship Center on South Main Street in downtown Brundidge.

“Because of the ongoing need for food and water in Oklahoma, we will also accept donations of non-perishable food items at 6 p.m. on Sundays and Tuesday at the Worship Center,” Valentine said.

Bishop Samuel Valentine has first-hand knowledge of what it’s like to experience a tornado. And, he also knows the blessing of being able to walk away from a Category 5 tornado unharmed.

Valentine was working for the United States Postal Service in May 1997 when a devastating tornado hit Lawton, Okla.

“I was in a postal facility and experienced what sounded like a fast-moving train moving through the city,” Valentine said. “I witnessed the funnel cloud that hovered at an extremely low altitude. It looked like the world was coming to an end. Power lines were whipping and posts were snatched out of the ground. In Chickasha, a little town about 15 miles away, the tornado stayed on the ground for about two and a half hours.”

Valentine said it was hard to believe what had happened.

“Hotels, restaurants, homes, it didn’t matter,” he said. “There was so much devastation. One of the most exclusive residential areas was just wiped away. There was one section, a new section, that had not been properly surveyed. Only the concrete foundations of homes were left. The homes without concrete foundations just vanished.

“Those people were struggling to file insurance claims because the property had not been recorded and there was nothing left to show a house had ever been there,” Valentine remembered.

“We want to do what we can to aid the victims of the tornadoes in Oklahoma and we are asking for the community’s support with our events on Saturday,” he said.