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Man relieved relatives weren't in tornado's path

CHAMPAIGN -- A man is happy to hear his relatives weren't in the direct path of a deadly tornado.
CHAMPAIGN -- A man is happy to hear his relatives weren't in the direct path of a deadly tornado. The twister ripped through Moore, Oklahoma Monday killing two dozen people and leaving hundreds homeless.

Lucas Johnson has two relatives there. One lives in Northwest Oklahoma City, about 30 miles away from Moore. But his uncle lives in Midwest City, less than ten miles from the tornado's destructive path.

Although they weren't hit, the proximity still had Johnson worried. He said he contacted them on Facebook as soon as he started seeing news about it hitting the OKC area.

Johnson's uncle in Midwest City said there wasn't any debris in his town. But he did acknowledge that the tornado was massive. Hearing what happened brought mixed emotions for Johnson.

"Saddened and relieved. I mean it's sad for the people that lost loved ones. But my cousin wanted me to let you know that Oklahoman's are resilient and they will rebuild," said he said.

Johnson said his uncle has lived around Oklahoma City for decades. So tornadoes aren't a surprise to him, but Monday's definitely was unlike any before. But he said yesterday's definitely was unlike any before.

The American Red Cross has already set up three shelters in the area to give people a place to stay. Volunteers from Oklahoma are there now. None from Central Illinois have been called out yet.

But the Red Cross is always looking for more ready to respond. The Mid-Illinois Chapter needs more volunteers with a nursing background. They could also use some with mental health experience, like psychologists.

They can help those dealing with the emotional stress of losing family or a home in a tornado. But before heading out, you need to be trained.

"We like to make sure that our volunteers are ready for that experience. Because when you do go out to an area that devastated, it can emotionally affect you. So we want to make sure that you're prepared to help others," said volunteer coordinator Kelly Formoso.

Orientation to become a volunteer happens on the first Tuesday of every month. To find out more click here!
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