The Moore American

Local News

May 26, 2014

A couple mourns the losses of the young lives taken that day

MOORE — When the tornado hit, Dennis and Wilma Chastain were holding hands. On May 20, 2013, the couple left their home in south Oklahoma City in Green Briar Estates near Westmoore High School around 2 p.m. to make it to a 2:30 appointment near Moore Medical Center.

Tornadoes have frequented the area, often putting the Chastain’s home in danger. This time, home would have been the safer place to be. The Moore Medical Center and the nearby doctors’ offices were destroyed that day as the structures took a direct hit from an EF-5 tornado.

The Chastains have been married for 57 years and have grown grandchildren. In 79 years of living in Oklahoma, Dennis Chastain has never seen a tornado first-hand — and still hasn’t. But that day, he experienced what it’s like to be caught in one.

Now a year later, the Chastains are grateful to have survived, but feelings of depression and anxiety plague the couple. For Wilma Chastain, one haunting moment is indelibly etched in her memory.

Following the couple’s rescue, they were taken to the hospital and put in different rooms to be examined. When she was released, Wilma was told to keep the gown — her clothes were covered with dust from the rubble. She wandered down the hall in her hospital gown, dazed by the day’s events and looking for her husband.

As she passed another room, she saw a young woman inside crying.

“She had three little diapers in her hand,” Wilma said, then broke into tears.

Dennis Chastain said they later learned that the woman’s baby had died.

“It was a poignant moment,” he said.

“Why am I still here and her sweet little baby is gone?” Wilma said. “Every day I get up and think, ‘What is my mission today?’”

The couple celebrated 57 years of marriage in August. Wilma is still recovering from her injuries.

Text Only
Local News
  • Heathplex Healthplex, EMSStat recognized

    Norman Regional Health System’s Healthplex and EMSStat teams were recognized Thursday by the American Heart Association, receiving a Silver Plus Quality Achievement Award.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • DHS opens lecture series

    People leaving incarceration face a variety of challenges even without a diagnosis of mental illness. But for those who face mental

    July 23, 2014

  • ‘Magic Kids’ get royal treatment

    A Moore elementary student is among three metro children honored by Oklahoma City radio station, KMGL-FM, as “Magic Kids” for their outstanding contributions to their families, schools and local communities.

    July 23, 2014

  • Toothpick holders’ convention coming

    Lynne Ryan has been collecting toothpick holders her entire life. “My parents, Mr. and Mrs. W.L. ‘Bud’ Gibbs started our collectio

    July 23, 2014

  • Gang member charged in shooting

    An Oklahoma City man police identified as a gang member was charged with assault and battery with a deadly weapon Thursday after sh

    July 23, 2014

  • Angels protect us

    A co-worker unpacked a box of copy machine paper from a cardboard box and got a nasty paper cut. Because the source was cardboard, it was deeper than most and the bleeding was difficult to stop.

    July 23, 2014

  • Southmoore student wins gold at National FCCLA

    More than 7,000 Family, Career and Community Leaders of America members, advisers, alumni, and guests from across the country recen

    July 23, 2014

  • Sculpture brings tornado-torn community back together

    After the May 20 tornado tore through Moore in 2013, hundreds of families were left to pick up the pieces. And it was in these old, shattered pieces of people’s homes and scattered debris that two local artists found something new.

    July 22, 2014

  • Panel explains forced labor system

    Many topics were discussed over the course of three days during the 2014 Oklahoma Judicial Conference, but one of the newest issues

    July 22, 2014

  • Moore shut out of prevention aid

    As a massive tornado bore down on Moore on the afternoon of May 20, 2013, residents scrambled to find shelter. Some retreated to safe rooms at home or in buildings. Many hid in closets, bathrooms or hallways.

    July 22, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide