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Driving Force: Phillips 66 Splash Club heads to Moore, Okla.

7/2/2013

Moore Oklahoma

By Tommy Schield // Communications Staff

 

Jeff Allen was giving his stepson Kyle a ride to the airport a few weeks after a tornado tore through Moore, Okla. Still in disbelief over the devastation and destruction that struck their state, Kyle turned to his stepdad and said, “We should drive to Moore and help those people.” Without hesitation, Allen agreed.

 

“That is a great idea,” said Allen, head coach of the Phillips 66 Splash Club. “Let’s do it.”


After a 6 a.m. practice, nine swimmers from the club in Bartlesville, Okla., loaded a rented van with food, water and supplies and headed to Moore. The group drove south for two and a half hours and arrived at 10:30 a.m. on June 20, exactly one month after the tornado touched down.

The volunteer service Allen worked with, moore.recovers.org, was not available until 1 p.m. With 30 years of coaching experience to his name, Allen wasn’t one to let time go to waste. “I asked someone, ‘What area got hurt the most? Where can we go to help?’”

The nine swimmers and their coach were told where to go and made the two-mile drive. They teamed up with a local church and helped clean out the last house standing on the street. By the time they gutted the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen, it was 1 p.m. and Allen was driving his team back to the volunteer headquarters.

“They assigned us to a college that had opened its doors to the victims of the tornado,” said Allen. “They set up a shopping center in their gym. Because they did that, a local nursery donated a bunch of shrubs and trees to the college.”

Moore, OklahomaPhillips 66 Splash Club team planted those shrubs and trees around Hillsdale Free Will Doctors College for the next three hours. Around 4:30 p.m. the club returned to their rented van and headed home. As Allen drove his team up I-44, he just listened.

“I remember the group talking amongst themselves about what they had seen, what they had done, and how proud they were to have made an impact,” said Allen. “Despite a 6 a.m. practice, each one wanted to do their part and wished they could have done more. That was a special day.”