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Oklahoma Guardsman Focuses On Community Ravaged By Tornado

Department of Defense

May 30, 2013

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MOORE, Okla – The May 20 tornado that ripped through the Oklahoma communities of Newcastle, Oklahoma City and Moore left a wide path of destruction for the families who live in the area as well as the first responders who rendered aid.

Much like the May 3, 1999, tornado that left Moore with miles of damage, families are again facing the reality of reclaiming their lives from the rubble, while first responders are tasked with ensuring the safety of impacted families.

Rarely does a man find himself on both sides. In the case of Master Sgt. Brian Hardee, a training noncommissioned officer for the 63rd Civil Support Team, Oklahoma Army National Guard, worries of his own damaged property were set aside as he shifted thoughts to assisting his community first. He now found himself in roles both as a survivor and as a first responder.

When Hardee turned on the afternoon news Monday and saw the tornado forming, he did “the typical Oklahoman thing — went outside and watched the clouds,” he said.

Within seconds, the tornado touched down and was quickly nearing his home, Hardee said. His first reaction was to get his neighbor’s family into his underground shelter, and he hurriedly followed. Even with the shelter’s protection, the shaking, rumbling and violent sounds signaled the tornado’s arrival.

Light entered the room through the severely buckled and damaged garage door as they rose out of the shelter, he said.

“When I came out, I could see daylight, and I knew something wasn’t right,” Hardee said.

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