Former NFL Player Helps in Oklahoma

May 30, 2013 • United States

When Roy Williams saw the destruction of the massive twister so close to his home, he decided to volunteer to help his neighbors and show God’s love

After an EF-5 tornado struck Moore, Okla., on May 20, Samaritan’s Purse responded by sending staff and volunteers to help clean up debris, tarp roofs, and cut down trees. Volunteers are pouring in from all over the country, especially from nearby areas in Oklahoma.

One of those volunteers is Roy Williams, former NFL safety for the Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals.

GiveOnly a few days after the storm hit, Williams drove about 20 minutes from his home in Edmond, Okla., to Moore. He had heard about the opportunity to volunteer with Samaritan’s Purse from a friend who used to work at the University of Oklahoma.

“It’s in my backyard,” he said. “I didn’t know anything about Samaritan’s Purse before yesterday, but I love what you guys stand for and what you guys do.”

Williams spent the day clearing debris at several homes in the area. One family he helped was Grady and Janet Grandstaff.

Roy-Williams-Oklahoma-tornado-Samaritan's-Purse-response-1355US-C-001They took shelter in the basement while the tornado roared through their home, dodging the shards of glass that were flying underneath the door. When the storm passed they were safe, but stuck. Grady finally got the door open, and they emerged into a house that was missing nearly half its roof and several rooms.

“It looked like a war zone,” Janet said.

With the help of family and friends, the Grandstaffs began working on their home. They were able to clean up the smaller items, but there was still a big mess in and around the house.

“It was going good, but what we needed help with was the heavy lifting,” Grady said.

Roy-Williams-Oklahoma-tornado-Samaritan's-Purse-response-1355US-C-357Williams and the crew of volunteers helped the Grandstaffs carry out couches, large boxes, and other salvageable items, and clear debris from the property. The work took two days to complete, but the Grandstaffs kept a good perspective.

“This is not our home,” Grady said. “Our home’s in heaven. Spiritually, we’ve got peace.”

Like many volunteers who come to work with Samaritan’s Purse expecting to bless the people they help, Williams said he was more blessed by the homeowners.

“To know that these folks lost their home but they are smiling, it’s so encouraging to me because it’s like, ‘Man, I was getting mad because somebody was taking too long at a stoplight’ or just the pettiest things in the world,” Williams said. “These people lost their homes in a tornado and they’re smiling and they’re welcoming us with open arms. They’re the ones who should be upset but they’re not. They’re happy.”

Roy-Williams-Oklahoma-tornado-Samaritan's-Purse-response-1355US-C-353As the Grandstaffs took a quick break from working, they said having Samaritan’s Purse in their home has been one of the highlights of their recovery efforts. They were thankful that each of the volunteers respected their belongings and that we circled up to pray with them each morning.

“Not only are you guys making a difference, you’re instilling that hope and that Godly love in people when you’re speaking with them,” Williams said. “You give them a Bible, and you pray with them. Samaritan’s Purse is actually showing God’s love, and people are feeling that.”

U.S. Disaster Relief Samaritan's Purse mobilizes and equips thousands of disaster relief volunteers to provide emergency aid to U.S. victims of wildfires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. In the aftermath of major storms, we often stay behind to rebuild houses for people with nowhere else to turn for help.

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