Air Force

July 5, 2013

D-M Airmen arrive on scene to support tornado victims

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Airman 1st Class Josh Slavin
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs Office

The path of a recent tornado in Moore, Okla., May 22. A tornado categorized as an EF5, the strongest category possible, with winds ranging from 200 to 210 mph struck Moore May 20. The Oklahoma Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reports 24 fatalities related to the storm.

Recently, two of D-M’s Airmen traveled to Oklahoma to provide donations and support for the tornado victims.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Coffman and his wife Staff Sgt. Kristi Coffman took it upon themselves to gather donations from members of the Desert Lightning Team. After a couple of days the Coffman’s had enough goods to fill their 28-foot trailer.

“A really good friend of mine called and said ‘I’ve lost everything. I don’t have a house. I don’t have anything.’” Sergeant Christopher Coffman said. “That hit home, and that’s when I thought ‘Let’s do this.
Let’s go to Oklahoma and help as many people as we can.’”

The Coffmans collected a wide variety of donations spanning from couches and beds to clothes and baby formula. They also received $400 dollars from various groups and associations on base to help ease the financial burden of gas on the trip.

Originally the Coffmans planned on donating a collection of goods locally to programs like the Red Cross. But after learning that there were no guarantees that the donations would ever get to the victims, they decided to personally deliver all that had been collected.

On June 1, ten days after the tornado hit, they began the nearly 1,000 mile drive to Oklahoma.

Once the decision to personally deliver the goods had been made, both of the Coffmans took a week of leave and drove 28 hours to the victims. After arriving in Oklahoma, they met with friends and various church organizations to give out the supplies.

“Between everything we brought there would have been enough to furnish two four bedroom households,” Sergeant Christopher Coffman said.

The Coffmans also went to Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, to donate over 3,000 pounds of clothes and furniture to the more than 300 military families affected by the tornado. There were 25 families that had lost everything.

“I felt an obligation to go help,” Sergeant Christopher Coffman said. “I didn’t feel like I could just sit back and watch. The house that my family and I lived in for three years was gone. If we still would have been stationed there we would have been in the same boat as them.”




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(U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Chris Massey)

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