Valley Native Sees Devastation in Okla.


Staff Writer

STILLWATER, Okla. – Ohio Valley native Chris Thoburn is among those assisting relief efforts in the wake of a devastating tornado that tore through Moore, Okla., on Monday night, killing dozens, including children.

“We definitely have heavy hearts here this morning. It’s really hard to take in,” expressed Thoburn, a native of Belmont, who currently works in the athletic department at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, about 75 miles north of Moore.

Stillwater experienced high winds and rain, but escaped any significant damage. Thoburn recalled how quickly the situation developed, and when he realized the extent of the damage.

“You watch it unfold on TV and it’s like you’re watching a horror movie,” he related. “It’s one of the worst tragedies they’ve ever had here. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

Moore, a suburb of about 41,000 people south of Oklahoma City, was inaccessible to volunteers this morning, according to Thoburn. Some of his work associates reside in the area, and he was anxious and frustrated because he could not reach them.

“It’s tough, because we want to get down to Moore and help out,” the 26-year-old Wheeling Jesuit University graduate and former Wheeling Nailers employee said.

Unable to directly reach those affected, Thoburn and others are gathering and purchasing supplies and relief items such as clothing, which rescue workers can deliver to Moore.

“The whole state of Oklahoma has come together, and the support is unbelievable,” Thoburn shared.

Also among those assisting is the West Virginia University baseball team, which remained in Oklahoma City after wrapping up its regular season at Oklahoma State. The team missed the tornado by about 5-10 miles, head coach Randy Mazey announced via Twitter.