Local Veteran Returns From Helping Oklahoma Tornado Victims

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Exactly one week before Memorial Day, Eric Calley watched, along with the rest of the country, as the devastation unfolded in Moore, Oklahoma.

"From as far as your eye could see, it was devastated," said Calley, a veteran of the Iraq War.

A former marine, Calley has helped struggling veterans through his organization, 'The Fight Continues', since returning home. After seeing the effects of Monday's tornado, he knew his help was needed in Oklahoma.

"I called my partner up and they were forming a team to go down and I said, 'I'm an American and I need to do this'," said Calley.

By Tuesday, Calley and several other veterans from around the country were in the center of the destruction. They quickly got to work, helping victims pick up their lives.

"There wasn't a lot of coordination or direction, so we primarily just went out on our own," said Calley. "We had a quad that we brought in, chainsaws, and we had a skidloader that would come in and remove the rubble so we could get personal belongings."

During this time, Calley met several victims, including a Vietnam War veteran who was badly injured protecting his girlfriend. He also me James, a student at Plaza Towers Elementary, where the tornado killed seven children.

"He came up to us and I usually where a bracelet, which has my buddy Zack Davis's name on it and 'killed-in-action' date," Calley said. "I took it off my wrist and put it on his wrist and said, 'From now on, you have a marine protecting you'."

Out of everything Eric Calley saw in Oklahoma, he only brought back one item; a Vietnam veterans coaster, which he found under a pile of bricks his last day there.

For Calley, it was one of many signs that he made the right decision by going to Moore.

"Just because we're out of the military, it doesn't meant that we can't serve our country," he said.

"The Fight Continues" had around 30 veterans in Oklahoma, last week, and is sending another team, this coming weekend.

If anyone wishes to donate to the victims, they can do so on the-fight-continues.com.

Veteran volunteers sit next to a veterans memorial in the center of Moore, Okla. It was largely untouched by the storm.
Veteran volunteers stand on destroyed street in Moore, Okla.

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