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Shawnee Tornado Victims Find Help At Command Central

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A woman is comforted by volunteers in Shawnee. A woman is comforted by volunteers in Shawnee.
Richard Chriss said he was ready to retire but now it looks like time to rebuild. Richard Chriss said he was ready to retire but now it looks like time to rebuild.
Southern Baptist Relief volunteers feed the hungry in Shawnee. Southern Baptist Relief volunteers feed the hungry in Shawnee.
SHAWNEE, Oklahoma -

The wind was no match for volunteers helping Oklahomans rebuild following last week's deadly twisters.

At command central for the tornado-ravaged areas outside Moore, there are volunteers from all over the country cooking meals for victims and even doing laundry.

It's Richard Chriss' second stop to see the folks with Red Cross.

"You've got to rebuild yourself, so take what you need," said Steve Hatfield, Red Cross volunteer from Idaho.

Chriss, like so many others, lost everything. But still, he's one of the lucky ones - he says he rode out the storm in a bathtub with his disabled mother.

"I have a lot more respect for tornadoes, they're terrible. You see the debris and everybody else that has damage, but until it happens to you, you really don't realize," said Shawnee resident Richard Chriss.

The emotions are still raw, but the reality that life must go on is starting to sink in.

5/27/2013 Related Story: Veterans Help Clean Up Tornado Damage In Moore On Memorial Day

"You look up and you can see the sky and there's nothing left. I'm ready to retire," he said. "I didn't want to build again, but it'll all turn out."

Chriss is starting small. He's at the command post picking up plastic storage bins; they're where he'll put what's left of the life he used to know.

"Whatever you can salvage out of the debris, you never know, there's stuff scattered for miles," said Richard Chriss, Shawnee tornado victim.

But there's more need than just supplies. There's laundry and shower services for both victims and volunteers. Then there's the food.

The Southern Baptist Relief Group and the Red Cross have teamed up to feed the appetites of more than 1,600 victims in the area.

Complete Coverage: May 2013 Tornado Outbreak

"This is a ministry for most these people who are working here, that's the way they like to serve the Lord and this is a good way to serve," said Ken Miller, Southern Baptist Relief group.

Volunteers from all corners of the country are in the state to make sure folks, like Chriss, are taken care of. Steve Hatfield traveled from northern Idaho to answer the call for help, and says he'll be taking the Oklahoma spirit back home with him.

"It's almost like I'm talking to a big family, ya know, everybody says we're Oklahoma, we help each other out. Well, I tell ya, it's gratifying," said Red Cross volunteer Steve Hatfield of Idaho.

The teams here have served nearly 20,000 meals since Tuesday.

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