Pamela Mohr 2014-09-11 00:13:15
Courage and Compassion in Oklahoma After a tornado swept through Moore, Oklahoma, on May 20, 2013, 9-yearold Logan Richardson looked over his neighborhood and thought of other kids like him. “I was really sad,” he says. Their homes were gone, their possessions ripped apart and scattered in the wind. Bikes lay mangled in the wreckage. His school, Briarwood Elementary, was one of two that was destroyed. Stunned and thankful his own home escaped the crushing 200 m.p.h. wind path of the EF-5 tornado, Logan’s first thought was for his friends and classmates who lost everything. “He just wanted them to have a nice summer,” says his aunt, Valerie Adair. “He thought if they had bikes to ride, that would help. You can’t tell a 9-year-old, ‘No, you can’t help people,’ so we got to work.” Logan immediately began creating flyers and mailing them to people with a hand-drawn tornado on each envelope. Logan and his family found allies in the Norman Sooner Lions Club. And the club found two new members when Adair and her husband, Mark, now president, joined after Lions helped give 190 new bikes and helmets to children. The bike giveaway cost $18,000, most of which was raised by word-of-mouth. “When people found out the Lions were involved, it gave us credibility. It just grew from there,” Adair says. Using social media, Adair and the Richardsons first began raising funds but encountered some difficulties establishing a bank account. When Adair ran into 2012-13 club president David Donaldson, he offered his support. “It was one of those ‘Wow!’ moments when everything goes right,” she says of their encounter. Donaldson wanted to expand the project further to include smaller nearby communities. “Logan had a big vision, but the Lions had an even bigger vision,” Adair explains. “I just thought the club could help,” Donaldson says. A year later, he presented Logan with the Heart of a Lion award at the Oklahoma State Convention because “Logan thought with his heart.” Now 10, Logan says he feels “really good” about the honor. “I want to be a Lion someday because they help people.” Five separate giveaways were held where children were allowed to choose their own new bikes purchased by Lions at a discount. Helmets were donated free of charge by a bike safety group. School officials helped connect Lions with children in need. After another group in Tulsa learned about Logan’s efforts, they insisted on rewarding him with a new bike for himself. Logan’s parents had already planned to buy him one. “I told them it wasn’t necessary, but they said they wanted to ‘give the giver’ something,” says his mother, Rachel. Logan and his classmates spent last year attending school in a nearby church while theirs was being rebuilt. “The new normal is the sound of construction work in the area,” Adair says. She doesn’t mind. It means neighbors are coming back home.
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