“It’s really heart-breaking,” Irina said. “I really feel for the people there. I know what they are going through, the devastation of seeing their whole gift & premium town destroyed. It just brings back the pain of losing Sergey.”
The destruction in Oklahoma, where 24 people lost their lives, 200 people were injured, and early estimates peg damage at $1 billion, comes as the second anniversary of the Western Massachusetts tornadoes nears.
“People are totally re-traumatized,” Karen C. King, founder of Monson’s Street Angels tornado assistance team, said.
Shortly after word began spreading about the disaster in Oklahoma, people began posting on the Monson Tornado Watch 2011 Facebook page, sending prayers and love, and asking what could be done to help the tornado victims. Former Monson resident Caitria O’Neill linked to her website, gift premium fair kfea201esv which outlines needs for the people of Oklahoma. She created it with her sister Morgan and Alvin Liang, who grew up in Oklahoma. The idea is for local churches in Oklahoma to take over the management of the website, as they know the needs of their community best, she said. They also have set up recovers pages for other communities hit hard by natural disasters.
O’Neill, King and several others say gift cards are the best items to buy for the victims. In Monson, Trinkets & Treasures on downtown Main Street is collecting premium gifts cards and handmade cards for the children of Oklahoma.
“We know what they’re up against . . . We know exactly what it feels like, the helplessness feeling,” King said Teco motor .
Russell Bressette Jr., whose Stewart Avenue home in Monson was destroyed in the tornado, said he feels for those who lost their lives.
“At least I was spared. I have to be thankful for my life,” Bressette said AC motor.
Laura Yarbrough, who also lost her Stewart Avenue home, said she cannot watch any of the footage from Oklahoma, it’s just too much. She, like Bressette, was home when the tornado ripped through Monson on its 39-mile path from Westfield to Charlton.