Rifle restaurateur to send truckload of relief from New Castle to Moore, Okla. | PostIndependent.com

Rifle restaurateur to send truckload of relief from New Castle to Moore, Okla.

Kelley Cox / Post Independent
Staff Photo |

NEW CASTLE — As the residents of Moore, Okla., continue to dig out from the EF 5 tornado that flattened much of their town last month, some help is coming their way from this tiny former coal town in Garfield County.

Grady Hazelton, 46, a restaurateur in Rifle and a native of New Castle, this week began collecting goods to fill a tractor-trailer bound for Moore, which is a city of 56,000 at the southern edge of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

He suggested donors contribute toiletries, diapers, children’s toys such as stuffed animals, sleeping bags, blankets and clothing appropriate to the climate of Oklahoma City.

There are three drop-off locations for donated goods, Hazelton told the Post Independent on Monday:

• The main office of the Glenwood Springs Mall, in West Glenwood, which can be found by taking the main entrance into the mall. A mall spokeswoman said the office is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays. If no one is there, she said, a collections box will be located in the store next door, the High Tides.

• The River Center in New Castle, 126 N. Fourth St. Hazelton asked that donors who drop their goods off at the River Center be sure to mark it clearly as “For Oklahoma.”

• And WingNutz Bar and Grill, 2178 Railroad Ave., Rifle, which is owned by the Hazeltons.

Working with friends Keith Gilstrap, owner of Gilco Transport Inc. of Rifle, and Mike Marcucci of the local Pepsi-Cola distributor in New Castle, Hazelton and his wife, Suzanne, started putting the mission together last week following what Hazelton said was an exchange of text messages between Hazelton and Gilstrap.

While swapping thoughts on the Moore, Okla., disaster, Hazelton recalled, he mused, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we could send a shipment of relief goods down there?”

Moore was hit by the EF 5 tornado on May 20, with wind speeds estimated at 210 mph. Twenty-three people were killed by the storm, 377 were hurt, and it damaged or destroyed between 12,000 and 13,000 homes, according to reports.

EF is the Enhanced Fujuta scale used since 2007, and denotes the destructiveness of tornadoes of different sizes, 5 being the worst, with wind speeds that start at 200 mph.

Hazelton said he was aware that many people would like to help the survivors of such events, but do not know how to go about it.

Which is where he and his friends come in.

Hazelton said Gilstrap is providing the tractor-trailer and drivers, a Tennessee couple who team-drive around the country and have offered to drive the load to Moore (and bring the empty truck back) at no charge.

Marcucci is providing a place to store pallets filled with goods until enough has been collected to fill the tractor trailer.

Hazelton suggested that the best way to muster donations quickly would be for organizations such as the Boy Scouts, church congregations or the staffs of local businesses to combine their individual contributions into a larger whole.

He also asked that donors include a note of support and understanding with their contribution.

“It’d be nice, on a more personal level, if people could attach a note to let ’em know you’re thinking of them, or something like that,” he said.

Hazelton can be reached at 970-618-0193 to answer questions or provide more information about the relief mission.


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