Fruge’s Regional Sales Manager Assists in Local Recovery Efforts
By Patrick D. Bonin
The EF5 tornado that obliterated parts of Moore, Oklahoma on Monday hit really close to home for Frugé Seafood’s DeLancey Miller.
Miller, 45, who is Frugé Seafood’s Regional Sales Manager in Oklahoma, lives in Oklahoma City, only about 15 minutes north of the massive tornado’s destructive path. A resident since 1998, he’s now seen the aftermath of two catastrophic twisters on Moore, the first one occurring on May 3rd, 1999.
Monday afternoon, he was in the process of returning home from a weekend camping trip in south Oklahoma with his stepdaughter, Brielle, when the tornado struck.
“I was able to pull up a live stream on my phone and watch the tornado live. I know Moore very well because I had helped with the last cleanup,” he said. “I knew from looking at it that this wasn’t going to be a good situation: it was following an almost identical path from 1999. Your heart just sinks when you think about the school and those children.”
Miller and Brielle, 10, had taken part in a camping program through their YMCA called Adventure Guides, where fathers can take their sons or daughters in first through fourth grades on one-on-one campouts at Camp Classen in Davis, Oklahoma.
“All the dads were talking over the weekend about ways for us to stay in touch and get together with each other, for us and for our girls,” he said. “That same group of guys decided on Monday that we would go to Moore and cook burgers and hand out drinks for the residents and the first responders.”
“We did about 1,400 onion burgers in the first two hours for lunch, and then we cooked the rest for dinner,” he said. “Thankfully, the police let us into the neighborhoods that were hardest hit, and we were able to offer the burgers and cold water from the back of a pickup truck to the people sifting through rubble.”
Miller said to see the devastation up close was “indescribable.”
“It’s hard because you don’t know what to say. Your heart goes out to them,” DeLancey said. “They were just all so appreciative. We were blessed just to have the opportunity to help those families, even with something small like water and food.”
But even in the face of total devastation, the spirits of those directly impacted, as well as the thousands of volunteers assisting in the recovery effort, remained high.
“It’s one of the reasons why I decided to stay in Oklahoma. This community and state comes together through any type of tragedy to help each other out. It doesn’t matter what part of the state it’s in, and economics and social status don’t matter: everybody comes together to pitch in,” he said. “People here don’t think twice about doing whatever it takes to help out. It just makes you proud to say that you live here.
“It’s what Oklahoma is all about,” Miller said. “It’s an amazing place.”
If you’re interested in assisting victims of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado, contact your local American Red Cross or go to www.redcross.org/donation.