Seminole Officials Continue To Assess Damage More Than 2 Weeks After Storm
News 9 - May 18, 2022 6:18 am
SEMINOLE, Oklahoma –
An estimated 500 homes sustained some level of damage after storms hit earlier this month, as assessments continue in Seminole.
Right now, the big unknown is whether residents will qualify for federal help. Seminole State College went pretty much unscathed by the storms; but that meant the buildings turned into hubs for organizations giving aid and the areas that would have seen dozens of caps and gowns were filled with Red Cross tents.
“There were people sleeping downstairs in the shelter. I walked in to hearing a baby cry. It was a very high emotion day for the whole town,” explained Seminole State President, Lana Reynolds.
The morning of May 5th, skies over Seminole cleared and residents began picking up the pieces. Seminole State College lost power, but the buildings stayed intact.
“We immediately became kind of a hub for relief efforts for the red cross, for the city of Seminole,” said Reynolds.
Those relief organizations set up where previously planned commencement ceremonies should’ve been.
“We realize that these students, the majority of them who two years ago lost their high school graduation, so it was very difficult and challenging high school graduation because COVID,” Reynolds added.
Many students who planned to strut across stage, their families and school staff also had to assess damage to their own homes.
“Even our employees on campus weren’t able to come in, they couldn’t shower, they didn’t have restrooms,” said Reynolds.
City officials continue to tour in hopes of qualifying for federal aid.
“There are two levels. One would be for individual assistance. And then there’s a higher level of assistance that’s in the millions of dollars that we’d have to meet,” explained Seminole Mayor, Jeff Griffin.
They’d have to hit $6 million in damage to qualify for the higher level of aid, that counts all the damage in the tornado’s path.
“We’ve toured Seminole looking at the damage and making assessments. We do not have any other numbers as of yet and so we’re patiently waiting on those numbers,” said Mayor Griffin.
Seminole State also rescheduled graduation for June 11th. Graduates need to RSVP by June 1 to walk.