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Moore Daycare Owner Reopens, Speaks At National Tornado Summit

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The daycare center was at 5th and Telephone Road in Moore, in the direct path of the May 20 tornado. The daycare center was at 5th and Telephone Road in Moore, in the direct path of the May 20 tornado.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The 3rd Annual National Tornado Summit began Monday in downtown Oklahoma City. Eleven-hundred weather experts from across the country are in town hoping to learn from past tragedies.

One of the speakers at the summit was Memory Taylor, the owner of the Agapeland Learning Center. The daycare center was at 5th and Telephone Road in Moore, in the direct path of the May 20 tornado. It was Taylor's day off, but it only took minutes after the tornado went through for her to reach the center.

"I expected to be pulling people out and it to be really tragic," she recalls. "My two youngest children were in the building."

The kids and staff all hid in the bathrooms and were all okay. Memory immediately started figuring out how she was going to reopen. Her driving force: the children.

"The best thing to do is get them back into a comfortable routine," she said.

Within days she found a building just a quarter of a mile away. And although she was insured, it was due to donations from across the country that made opening up three weeks later possible.

Save the Children gave them a $20,000 grant and a childcare center from Tennessee sent a truckload of toys and supplies. Donations from the community helped fill in the rest.

"We would have probably scraped by, but these children came into the center, with the donations everyone gave, they came into the center with everything."

Memory shared her story about what it takes to re-open a business after a tragedy at the Tornado Summit. But it wasn't until she talked with organizers that she realized what she has truly overcome.

"She said you know most small businesses only survive about six months after a natural disaster."

Before the tornado, Agapeland had 90 children and a waiting list. Today, they are almost back to that with 79 children.

"I feel like we're still viable and we're still strong and we're still moving."

Weather experts from 25 states are at the summit. It runs through Tuesday.

2/10/2014 Related Story: Injury Survey To Be Released At OKC Tornado Summit

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