MOORE — On June 4, 2004, Nicolas McCabe was born to Scott and Stacey McCabe just outside their Moore home; he came into the world so quickly his parents couldn't even make it to the hospital.
Nicolas was a bright young man with an ornery grin who adored his family and his friends at Moore’s Plaza Towers Elementary. He loved Legos, country music and going to the lake where he dreamt of having his own pontoon boat one day.
At 2:59 p.m. May 20, the National Weather Service issued a tornado emergency for south Oklahoma City and Moore. Meteorologists and storm spotters were tracking a large and extremely dangerous tornado near Newcastle; it was heading northeast at 20 mph. Residents in the path of the storm were urged to go to a storm shelter or an interior room of a sturdy building if they could not get underground.
The tornado, which had peak winds estimated at more than 200 mph, created an estimated maximum 1.1-mile-wide damage path and ripped through Moore. Damaged or destroyed structures included hundreds of homes, businesses and Plaza Towers Elementary. The tornado tragically cut short seven little lives at the school; among them was Nicolas, a third-grader.
Monday afternoon, the McCabes were in Edmond at GFS Storm Shelters, 3404 S. Broadway, site of a new showroom for the growing business. Stacey is one of several Moore parents raising money for storm shelters in Oklahoma schools; her son’s school did not have one.
McCabe and other parents of children killed at Plaza Towers have helped create Shelter Oklahoma Schools — shelteroklahomaschools.org — a nonprofit that will work with local schools and cities to build or fortify storm shelters across the state.
McCabe said out of 1,800 school structures in the state, less than 100 have storm shelters.
“If our children had storm shelters then they would be safe, and we should be able to feel like when we send our kids to school that they are safe,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons our son stayed at school because we thought he was safe.”