Alabamians arrive in Oklahoma to help tornado survivors

Alabamians arrive in Oklahoma to help tornado survivors

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"God's Pit Crew" is just one of the groups in Oklahoma. Source: WBRC video "God's Pit Crew" is just one of the groups in Oklahoma. Source: WBRC video
Chris Sommers is a firefighter from Athens that is in Oklahoma to help recovery. Source: WBRC video Chris Sommers is a firefighter from Athens that is in Oklahoma to help recovery. Source: WBRC video
MOORE, OKLAHOMA (WBRC) -

Jonathan Hardison reports from Moore, Oklahoma on the influx of Alabama volunteers. Click here to read and watch more of his reports from the tornado-stricken town.

We knew there would be a flood of folks coming from Alabama to help here in Oklahoma, especially because of the tie our state feels with this one after April 27, 2011. In fact we've been making plans to connect with some of those volunteers today. We ended up running into two Alabama firefighters while walking through a soggy, half-destroyed house.

Pat Casey hasn't left her home since the tornado struck Monday. She didn't want to risk looters getting any of her stuff, but now, with torrential rains coming in, she's ready to go.

"The whole back of the house is what was destroyed to begin with. And now with the rain, my living room ceiling is almost completely crashed in, my daughter's bedroom, the living room, and it's getting close to my room now," Casey said.

But Pat can't salvage everything on her own. So that's where two strangers walking by stepped in to help. Those strangers: two firefighters from Athens.

"I could not not come out and not help somebody," firefighter Chris Simmons said.

He and another man, with the help of some local churches, gathered enough funds to come out to Oklahoma.

"So here we are and it's unreal to help people," Simmons said. "To have that feeling and know that people's in need like you were two years ago."

Simmons and his friend drove 12 hours Wednesday to get to Moore and plan to help haul away debris through the weekend.

"It feels awesome to be productive," Simmons said. "People's always in need, there's a time when anybody's in need. And when you got somebody there to help you, it always makes it better, so that's what we're here to do."

We also met with a group called "God's Pit Crew." They've brought supplies from Birmingham to provide hot meals to relief workers starting Friday.

Steve Wallace of the Church of God's Chaplain's Commission says his group is here to provide some comfort.

"There's so many hurting people it's almost unfathomable," he said. "We're just gonna start right now with the workers, the aid workers, try to prepare some hot meals and do a little comfort with them, and then branch out into the areas and start working with the people."

Wallace and Talladega native Mark Ledbetter know well what kind of help tornado victims need after their own experiences on April 27, 2011 and that gives them extra motivation and preparation.

LINK: How to help tornado victims in the Plains states

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