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Moore, Okla.

May 22, 2013 - By Steven R. Peck

Remember what is important, and do what you can to help when needed

Rarely has the nation seen worse devastation of a community than that visited upon Moore, Okla., on Monday in the form of a terrifying and ferocious tornado. The physical damage to the town is stunning to observe and contemplate. Authorities have counted two dozen people dead so far, including some children killed when the twister laid waste to their school. Terrible.

We appear to be living in a time of unprecedented catastrophe wrought by the hand of nature. In the interior of the nation, tornadoes lead the destructive parade, bringing shocking, ruinous damage and death in recent years to, among other places, Greensburg, Kan., Tuscaloosa, Ala., Joplin, Mo., and now in Moore, which is part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

Exactly why that is happening has, incredibly, become a political debate. A portion of the national news coverage of the tornado is being dedicated to that absurd sideshow.

Put that quarrel aside, at least for now (putting it aside forever would be even better). Instead, take a moment to imagine what we would be feeling and experiencing were such a disaster to strike one of our small Fremont County communities. Then do what you can to help with the relief effort in Oklahoma.

Here are some of the agencies helping the victims, each of them known to be reputable and effective:

- The Salvation Army accepts donations for Oklahoma Tornado Relief online at https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/

uss/eds/aok. You can also text "storm" to 80888 to make a $10 donation.

- The American Red Cross suggests donations to www.red

cross.org/okc or www.redcross.org, or by texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

- United Way of Central Oklahoma's Disaster Relief Fund is open. Donations may be made online at www.united

wayokc.org or by mail to United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK 73101 with a notation for the May Tornado Relief.

- Make online contributions to the Moore & Shawnee Tornado Relief Fund at www.TulsaCF.org. Donations can be mailed to TCF offices at 7030 S. Yale, Suite 600, Tulsa, OK 74136.

Moore is fortunate to have the population and civic structure of Oklahoma City nearby to absorb some of the impact as the aftermath of the storm is realized. That isn't the case in many other places in the nation's heartland that are at risk of tornado, flood and winter storm damage.

Wyoming is subject to all of those risks. In Fremont County we have seen what flooding can do in two of the past three years, in fact. One lesson that every community learns in times of trouble brought about by nature's forces is that communities, businesses, churches, schools, families and individuals almost always emerge from a crisis in better shape if they had some sort of contingency plan in mind. That means thinking about what you would do if nature threatened or struck -- where you would go, who you could contact, how you would stay warm, stay dry, stay healthy, stay fed, as well as how you could assist others if your help was needed.

All of these things swirl in the mind as the damage in Moore, Okla., is contemplated by the nation. Help if you can, and take measures to prepare and respond should disaster strike at home.

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