Responders wait as Okla. twister news unfolds

CBF disaster-response leader is waiting for word on Baptists impacted by the Oklahoma City tornado.

By Jeff Brumley

If you’re already wondering how Baptists disaster-relief organizations are going to respond to today’s massive Oklahoma tornadoes, you’re not alone. Leaders of those groups are wondering, too.

“We’re watching it on television like everyone else,” said Tommy Deal, national disaster-response coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, on Monday afternoon.

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Deal spoke as initial reports and images of devastation from the Oklahoma City area were being broadcast. CNN reported that a twister two miles wide ripped through Moore, Okla., “ripping roofs off buildings, leveling homes and leaving a massive band of destruction in its wake.”

There were also reports of grade-school children being pulled from a destroyed school. There wasn’t word at the time if any or all of them were injured or killed.

And meteorologists were warning today that the worst may be yet to come as the deadly storm system moved across the state. Damage was also being reported in Newcastle and Tuttle, according to CNN.

Deal said he’s already placed calls to CBF Oklahoma officials, who he said were not immediately available because they were busy trying to confirm the wellbeing of their churches and people.

Deal said he is praying for the victims, and reminded loyal CBF volunteers around the nation to be patient and not rush off to Oklahoma until disaster planners put out the word for help.

“We will wait until we are invited,” Deal said.

“We are not first responders,” he added. “When they start putting the lives back to normal, CBF will see how we can be part of that.”

Anyone wishing to share information about friends and relatives in the Oklahoma City area may e-mail reporter Jeff Brumley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Be sure to include a daytime telephone number in your message.