By Ryan Richardson
After losing an office building and her home in the tornado on May 22, 2011, Loretta Bailey is familiar with the destruction that a tornado brings.
The 400 households that her insurance agency helped through the aftermath of the tornado also know that loss. Two years later, Bailey is counting on the help that arrived for Joplin residents displaced by the tornado to come for the people of Moore, Okla.
The Joplin Allstate agent has paired up with the Ozark Gateway Board of Realtors (OGAR) to secure donations that will be taken to Moore on June 7.
Her response to the disaster is something Bailey felt compelled to do.
“People came from all over to help out Joplin and it is time for us to do the same for Moore,” Bailey said. “I reached out to my customer base, many of whom I helped get back into their homes, and asked for donations to send to Oklahoma.”
Since Wednesday, Bailey has sent out more than 800 emails asking for donations to fill a truck trailer. Water, diapers, work gloves and clothes are just a few of the items that Bailey is looking to gather.
“We’re already getting calls and people bringing in stuff, but we really want to pack this truck up,” Bailey said. “So many of us remember what it was like here in Joplin, so we are trying to find one less thing that they have to worry about there.”
Two years ago, Bailey lost her office near 20th Street and Connecticut Avenue, though that didn’t stop her helping out her customers. Working on laptops and from cellphones, Bailey was active in reaching out to her customers despite the adverse working conditions.
“I was working with a shoe without a sole until someone brought a pair to me,” Bailey said. “It wasn’t really on my mind. I didn’t have a day off until July 3 because there was so much to do. We kept working to get people back into homes, despite losing ours.”
That kind of work is what Bailey hopes will happen in Moore.
“There were so many people that were just lost and scared here,” Bailey said. “But they saw what I was going through and that I was still working. I told them that they were going to be taken care of in the end, and that’s what I want the people of Moore to know. There will be highs and lows but people are going to step up and they will get you through this.”
Bailey and the OGAR are accepting donations currently through June 6. Donations can be taken to 701 S. Florida Ave. Details: 417-624-7355.