On the afternoon of May 20th, 2013, an EF5 tornado, with peak winds estimated at 210 miles per hour, struck Moore, Oklahoma and adjacent areas killing 24 people and injuring 377 others. The tornado was part of a larger weather system that had produced several other tornadoes during the previous two days. As the nation watched the aftermath of this tragic event, local Presidio engineer, Oscar Garza, sent out a text to the Oklahoma team asking “What can we do?” The team collaborated, and with encouragement from senior management, was able to provide lunch to 300 volunteers at a local shelter in Norman, OK by the name of Journey Church.
The Presidio team also volunteered their services for the afternoon to help load and unload supplies coming into the shelter before being dispersed back out into the community. The engineering team also provided many hours of volunteer efforts working hand-in-hand with the local disaster recovery team to provide wireless access to the devastated area. This in turn enabled the affected homes and businesses to provide their family, friends and customers with much needed updates as to their status.
Ten days later, on Friday May 31st, another tornado struck El Reno, Oklahoma. It is believed to be the widest tornado on record in the United States at 2.6 miles across and it did incredible damage. The Friday tornado and its resulting flooding claimed 18 lives, including six children and a dozen adults. Area hospitals treated 115 injuries after Friday’s storm according to the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management.
The basement of the City’s operations building flooded and rendered it uninhabitable. Unfortunately, all of their spare network equipment happened to be in that basement.
Presidio engineers Joel Wilson, Oscar Garza and Charlie Otis immediately jumped in and assisted the City of OKC with an outage due to the tornado and weather they endured. Joel and Oscar called other clients, Chesapeake and Access Midstream, to see if they would be willing to loan network equipment short-term to get vital city services back online. Both customers graciously accepted their offer to assist. The equipment was delivered to the OKC IT team the next day so they could set up temporary offices in a nearby building.
We were fortunate enough to be able to assist our clients and our community in a time of need. The Oklahoma City IT Director, Jason Gipson, was very appreciative that Presidio was there when he needed us. At Presidio we pride ourselves on our client service, our engineering expertise, our ability to make technology practical for business needs, but sometimes nothing is more important than being able to help our communities that need it most. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to those that lost family members and their homes.