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I lost, but I gained

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- I lost my home and the majority of my possessions in last week's tornado, but I gained a whole new love and respect for my Tinker friends and co-workers. The best disaster preparedness plans don't prepare you for the emotional impact of losing your home. I'm normally a very organized person, but the psychological impact of the tornado left me scatterbrained and unable to think through what I needed to do next.

So, I made a very tearful phone call to my boss at Tinker. I told her I needed to salvage what I could and get it into a storage unit. She said "I'm on it".

The next day I had a small army of people helping me salvage my possessions, to include my boss and her husband. My Tinker co-workers showed up ready to work with their spouses, in-laws and kids in tow. I had a dozen sets of hands helping me dig through what was left. One of my best friends, also a Tinker co-worker, dropped off a truckload of boxes and packing tape to help make the move a little easier.

While working on the house, 10 minutes didn't go by without a volunteer stopping and asking if we needed water, food, work gloves or flashlights. A group of college students stopped by to see if we needed help with any of the heavy lifting. I've had offers for free labor to help with the clean-up, housing, furniture, clothing and toys to replace what my kids lost.

I am truly amazed at the outpouring of support from last week's destructive tornado. But, I'm even more amazed at how my Tinker family rallied around me in my time of need. I spend hours with these people at work and you think you know them pretty well. I work with a great bunch of people, but I didn't know just how great they were until tragedy struck.

I have a new found love for my Tinker family and appreciate all they've done to help me through this. So, I might have lost last week, but I definitely gained something in return.