Toby Keith Heads Home to Oklahoma, Surveys Damage From Deadly Tornado
Toby Keith only recently got back into the United States after his latest USO tour, and was actually in Moore, Oklahoma right before the deadly tornado struck on Monday (May 20), but left for Nashville to record new music just hours before it touched down. When he heard about the wreckage and devastation the storm caused, he returned to his hometown the next day, ready to help and assess the damage.
The 'Hope on the Rocks' hitmaker talked to 'TODAY' host Matt Lauer after he arrived in the small town, pointing out the remains of his sister's house, embracing family members, and taking in the deep tragedy of what has happened. The town of Moore is proud of their country music hero, with a water tower emblazoned with Keith's name. He's equally as proud of his small town roots, and explains just how deeply this tragedy cuts.
"It was devastating to see, but it was even worse flying in because I know all these streets," Keith shares. "That little grocery store on the corner there is where we got our baseball cards. Where we got our gas for mowing lawns in the summer."
Even in the midst of so much destruction, Keith says the people of his town are "resilient." He adds, "As bad as it looks right now, these people -- they are so prepared for it... they'll bounce back. Homes will start going up quick and they'll prepare for the next one."
Along with the superstar, there are throngs of people who jumped up to help with the rescue process, including his son-in-law, who immediately jumped into action when the elementary schools started getting hit. While driving there, his truck flipped over, he got electrocuted, put a nail in his foot and had a tunnel collapse on him. Keith recalls that his heroic son-in-law still made it to the site and threw himself into the rescue effort.
As Oklahoma reels from the tragedy that unfolded so quickly, it's comforting to know that there are so many people rallying around the communities that have been affected by the tornado. Fellow country star Blake Shelton is also planning an event to help raise money for Moore, Okla. For more information on how to help visit this link.