How to help

Red Cross:

To donate $10 toward relief efforts, text "REDCROSS" to 90999. The donation will be added to your mobile phone bill. Or call 800-RED-CROSS or go to

Salvation Army:

To donate, visit, call 800-SAL-ARMY or text STORM to 80888 to make a $10 donation.

After a devastating tornado ripped through the community of Moore, Okla. -- killing at least 24 people and injuring more than 140 others -- people from across Boulder County have mobilized to offer assistance in the recovery efforts.

Boulder's John Miller, a leadership volunteer for the American Red Cross, flew to the ravaged area Tuesday to serve as a "disaster assessment manager." Miller's job is to connect with Red Cross officials already on the ground and help people affected by the storm find food and shelter.

"Our thoughts are with everyone affected by these horrific tornadoes," Gino Greco, CEO of the American Red Cross Mile High Region, said in a statement. "We will continue to support our neighbors in nearby states even as we prepare our own people and resources for the local disaster season in Colorado."

Boulder Rural Fire Department officials said Richard Estep, a volunteer paramedic for the department, also went to Moore on Tuesday to offer assistance. Estep, an 11-year veteran at Boulder Rural Fire, will serve as part of the Colorado Disaster Medical Assistance Team.

"Be safe, Richard, and thanks for your service," the department wrote in a tweet.

Longmont-based Code 3 Associates, a nonprofit organization that specializes in animal rescue in disaster areas, and its Big Animal Rescue Truck left for Oklahoma on Tuesday to get the supplies closer to Moore so they can respond swiftly when emergency managers issue deployment orders. The group will stage outside of the town while awaiting orders to join in recovery work.

"What has happened so far is we have been in touch with Oklahoma Emergency Management and, of course, the human search and rescue takes precedence," said Eric Thompson, disaster response director for Code 3 Associates.

Thompson said emergency managers deployed animal rescuers to Joplin, Mo., three days after a tornado leveled much of that town in May 2011.

The Big Animal Rescue Truck -- a 2009 White Western Star truck that tows a 53-foot converted moving van -- is supplied to sustain the team during rescue efforts, including water needs and sleeping accommodations for up to 11 people, according to the organization's website.

Longmont resident Courtney Greedy is a native of Edmond, Okla., about 20 miles north of Moore, and remembers driving through the Moore area when it was struck by another disastrous tornado in 1999.

"It was just like a war zone, like matchsticks -- it was just complete, utter destruction," she remembered of the 1999 storm. "It's amazing that a storm can do this."

Greedy said she contacted her mother Monday and was relieved to find out her parents, brother and sister-in-law were OK despite a tornado touching down in Edmond on Sunday. It was her mom who told her about the tragedy in Moore, Greedy said.

"It's just heartbreaking. I couldn't even read through the whole story at first when I heard about those kids trapped in the school," said Greedy, a mother of two young children. "I think about my boys. It's just so heartbreaking for all the parents."

Greedy said she is collecting gift cards to stores like Target and Walmart to mail to her mom this weekend so they can be donated to the relief efforts.

Patricia Demchak Billinger, spokeswoman for the Mile High Chapter of the Red Cross, said the best way to help is to offer financial support to the responding agencies. Donations of clothing and furniture often "pile up waist-deep" at disaster sites, she said.

"Across the board, emergency agencies will tell you that the best way to help is to give a financial donation," she said, adding that the money is often invested in the local economy and can help revitalize those areas.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Joe Rubino at 303-473-1328 or