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|Free clinic to raise funds for Oklahoma tornado victims set in Edmond, Okla., May 25|
By Meagan Templeton-Lynch USA Wrestling
Coleman Scott of the USA competing in the 60 kg bronze-medal match at the 2012 Olympic Games. John Sachs photo.
Monday afternoon brought devastation to the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, Okla., when a tornado ravaged the town, including directly hitting schools with children inside.
According to Reuters on Tuesday, the death toll is at 24, nine of which are children. Seven deaths were reported to be from Plaza Towers Elementary School. A total of five schools were hit, with 60 of the 240 injured being children. Survivors were still being pulled out of rubble Tuesday, with around 100 having been found so far. The structural damage is extensive, with schools, one small hospital and entire subdivisions flattened. Relief organizations mobilized to set up donation drives to provide tornado survivors with necessary items such as water, clothing, food and hygienic supplies.
Former Oklahoma State and Oklahoma University assistant wrestling coach Tyrone Lewis was dropping off a donation to the American Red Cross in Edmond, Okla. when he wondered what else he could to do help his neighbors to the south that have lost nearly everything.
“I just thought, I need to find a way to do more,” Lewis, who will begin coaching at California State Bakersfield next season, said. “So, what do I do best? This is an opportunity to show how the wrestling community, not just in the state of Oklahoma, cares and can give back and the fight and the will we have to support people that are in need.”
Lewis’s effort will culminate this Saturday, May 25 in a free wrestling clinic for elementary through high school students that will serve as a donation drive for the victims in Moore.
The clinic will be held at the Oklahoma Wrestling Academy in Edmond and will feature clinicians including Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott, former World Team member and 2013 National Champion Obe Blanc and two-time NCAA champion and Junior World bronze medalist Jordan Oliver.
Lewis is also reaching out to other big names in the wrestling community such as Olympic champion Kenny Monday, Olympian Sam Hazewinkel and Olympic champion Kendall Cross, and is looking for top volunteers to come to Edmond to help run these clinics.
The day will feature two sessions from 9-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. However, donations will be accepted from community members from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the venue.
“USA Wrestling supports this clinic and the efforts of the Oklahoma wrestling community to raise funds for the victims of the devastating tornado in their state,” said USA Wrestling President James Ravannack. “We offer our condolences to the families who suffered great loss in this tragedy. We encourage the wrestlers in the area to attend the clinic, donate to the cause and show their love and support for those affected.”
In addition to getting the opportunity to work with these wrestling greats, kids will have the chance to get autographs.
“It’s just a drop-in and drop-off type of deal,” Lewis said. “If you want to drop off donations or drop in for ten minutes or an hour to participate in the clinic, that’s fine. Really what this is for is just to get the wrestling community involved in helping out. Anything that people are able to provide will be accepted.”
Material donations that are recommended include water, non-perishable food and snacks, towels, baby formula and baby wipes.
To participate in the clinics or drop off a donation on Saturday, head to:
Oklahoma Wrestling Academy
2201 West Edmond Road
Edmond, OK 73003
For more information or to help out, Tyrone Lewis may be reached at (405) 638-6732. You may also contact the head coach at Oklahoma Wrestling Academy, Hardell Moore, at (405) 613-8403.
The Oklahoma Wrestling Academy website will also be accepting donations online at OklahomaWrestlingAcademy.com. Please continue to check back to this website for more information and the link to donate.
“This is not about me or any single individual, this is just about showing the community and the state and people around the country that people in wrestling care, that people in wrestling want to make a difference in all aspects of life,” Lewis said. “We’re going to contribute and show what really hard work can do to make a difference. Just giving back and serving people is ultimately what, each and every one of us, what we’re here to do: to serve each other and serve our loved ones and our neighbors.”