The Moore American

September 4, 2013

First responders recognized during national prayer tour

By Jessica Bruha
The Moore American

MOORE — Several Moore firefighters gathered Saturday where Plaza Towers Elementary School used to stand during a National Day of Prayer tour.

Ed Moore, area pastor and founder of Oklahoma’s “Prayer Force One” tour bus, led a prayer over a group of Moore firefighters at the Plaza Towers site. One of those firefighters was his son, Corley Moore, who was one of the first to respond to the elementary school just minutes after the tornado hit.

“Son, it’s an honor to be your father. I’m very proud of you,” Ed Moore said to his son.

Moore said he was also very proud of the city of Moore and each of the firefighters.

“To you, you just did your duty. You weren’t looking for anything, no pats on your back, but we feel obliged to say thank you,” he said.

Dion Elmore, director of public relations for the National Day of Prayer task force, said many times firefighters are unsung heroes.

“You’re doing what you have to do every day, but when the sirens go off and when the alarm sounds, you jump into action and you’re the first ones on the scene,” Elmore said.

He also said those serving on the police force deserved recognition for all they have done and are still doing.

“We appreciate what you do. As citizens of this nation you have to understand those television cameras are on no matter where we live. We see what’s going on and I’m sure I watched video footage of some of you as these things were happening,” Elmore said.

Kathy Branzell, National Day of Prayer staff member, also had a message for the firefighters as she stood in front of them with Kaylee Sanchez, a little girl who survived the tornado’s direct hit to Plaza Towers.

“This is Kaylee. She was in kindergarten here. She was in the school when the tornado came. She didn’t know, her dad Eli did not know, that we were going to be here today,” Branzell said.

She said she believed that it was a divine appointment and God put them right where he wanted them at the exact day on that exact hour.

“They just happened to be here right at this moment and I believe that you all, when you close your eyes at night, you have a lot of images in your head – a lot of things you wish you didn’t see any more,” Branzell said. “I believe with all my heart that God sent Kaylee today and her pretty smile.”

Branzell also said she found a scrap of paper near the memorial for the children who lost their lives at the school that day. In the middle of the little piece of paper was the word “hope”, she said.

“So for what you remember from then, what I’m begging you to remember from today is hope, Kaylee’s life and all the other lives that you’ve saved,” Branzell said. “I pray that your comfort is this sweet little face and the faces of others and the word hope, because that’s what you preserved that day in the midst of disaster, so thank you.”

Elmore said he prayed that God would rebuild the area, raise it up from the dust and make it a thriving area once again. He also said he wanted to pray for all of the families affected and all of the educators that were there that day.

The National Day of Prayer bus tour is a part of a 100 day tour that includes stops in over 300 cities and towns across the nation to raise awareness of the annual National Day of Prayer. The tour started in Pittsburgh, Penn. on May 30.

Jessica Bruha 366-3540