Trouble in Elmore City

The Footloose Low-down

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Hope everyone had a wonderful Sunday. We again enjoyed worshiping at First UMC of Elmore City. We went to Sunday School first and spent a good deal of class time sharing with the class the ins and outs of what NOMADS do. Most of them had never heard of NOMADS before we came here – not a surprise. After hearing our story, the Peacemakers quilting group wants to give us some quilts or prayer blankets for the auction at annual meeting to help raise money for projects. That would be really nice!! The class was using a devotional book written by the pastor’s husband for their class study book and we really enjoyed the reading and discussion. the-country-road-through-the-book-of-matthew-by-mike-lovettLater, Mike Lovett, the pastor’s husband, actually gave each NOMADS couple a copy of the book, The Country Road Through the Book of Matthew. The section we reviewed in SS today was quite good. You might want to download a sample. After worship we had a ”pot luck” dinner in the fellowship hall. Isn’t it interesting how in different parts of the country we use different words for the same thing – pot luck, pitch-in, covered dish – all the same thing – and no matter what you call it, it’s always a great meal. The people in Elmore City didn’t disappoint. We won’t need any more food today!

It just so happens that we were able to discuss the movie “Footloose” and events that occurred in Elmore City with people who were actually here at the time. We even talked to a gentleman who was on the school board at the time (he was a little hard of hearing). The year was 1980. There had never been a prom dance for Elmore City High School because since the founding of the city in 1898, public dancing had been illegal by ordinance. The story goes that some of the adults and students took the issue to the school board requesting permission to have a prom with dancing. It became a huge issue dividing the community. According to the school board member’s wife, some of the pastors were totally against it, but that her pastor “a young man” supported the kids. She said he found all the places in the Bible that refer to dancing and then went to the school board meeting and read them to the board ending by saying that “if it’s in the Bible, it’s not wrong.” Some were in favor of it because “it would keep the kids from going up on the ‘mountain’ and drinking beer and dancing.”

Minutes of the Famous March 3, 1980 Elmore City School Board Meeting

In the end it was decided they could have the prom with dancing, but with stiff supervision. The students could not come and go and they “corralled ‘em up and didn’t let ‘em out til the next morning after breakfast.” The event put Elmore City on the map with reporters from San Francisco, New York and People Magazine all in town to report on the prom. The media coverage caught the attention of the screenwriter and the movie “Footloose” was based on the events.  The locals were all also quick to tell us that some of the stories and the movie were not so accurate portrayals of their sweet little town. Some didn’t want to even talk about it – seemingly embarrassed by it all.

Click to read the entertaining (if not completely factual) article

We found this story in the archives of People with some of the perhaps not so factual information. There was also a recreation of the 1980 prom on the 30th anniversary. We found several other articles that (if you are REALLY interested) you can find with a simple Internet search.



Flashback to our first Disaster Rebuild

Saturday, February 18, 2017

It was another beautiful day in Elmore City. It was cloudy first thing this morning, cleared and was really nice. It was a stay at home day with cleaning, laundry and accounting work to be done. The newest addition to our team, Pat and Scott arrived early afternoon. We worked with them on our first DR project in Gulf Breeze, FL and at Vashti Childrens home in Georgia. We are so glad to be with them again. They are a great addition to our team and we look forward to working with them the next 2 weeks. We took enough time for some walking for exercise but otherwise it was pretty much a working day. Pat and Scott being here made us think of our first NOMADS trip after our return from Alaska in September 2014. (the last time we blogged.)

Gulf Breeze DR Team

We worked the first 2 weeks of the Gulf Breeze Disaster Rebuild Project, November 3-14, 2014. We had a great team that really came together well. We knew no one when we arrived, but by the end of the second week we really, really didn’t want to leave. Just loved those folks. Gulf Breeze flooded in the spring of 2014. It rained over 26 inches in less than 24 hours and there was wide spread flooding. The house we worked on had been mucked out and partially rebuilt. The homeowner had used all their FEMA money and had no choice but to move back in the house with the kitchen inoperable, no appliances or cabinets, and no interior doors. The drywall was up but still needed some taping and mudding and lots of sanding to be done and then all the painting. Most of the tile work was done. A precious family of four – a grandmother, her daughter and 2 granddaughters were living in the unfinished home. They had a little dorm size refrigerator, and a microwave and some air mattresses on the floor and that’s how they were living. The daughter and her boyfriend worked on the house at night and on the weekends, but they were just overwhelmed and exhausted by the time we arrived. They told us that their puppy woke them up during the night of the flooding. Water was up about mid-calf. They used a kitchen knife to cut through drywall to get upstairs to a bonus room and safely away from the rising water. They were rescued by boat. So, we finished up the home for the beautiful family that lived there and presented them with a Bible signed by the team. It was a lot of really hard work but very, very rewarding.


While in Gulf Breeze we also had lots of fun. blue angels 1.jpgThe Blue Angels were performing their last show of the season so we got to watch their practices right from our campsites and then we all went to the final performance on Sunday afternoon. We also ate really good. We found the largest and best seafood market – Joe Patti- we have ever visited. On one of team member’s suggestion, we bought some of the Royal Red shrimp. And of course we also had an order of the beignets from the food truck right outside the market. The Royal Reds were phenomenal.

Overall – it was a great two weeks – such a blessing to be able to participate –and we highly recommend others find a way to participate in similar mission work. You will be so blessed.

Tomorrow we will have church and covered dish dinner. NOMADS really enjoy eating and maybe we will find out more about Elmore City and Footloose.

Trip to Norman

Friday, February 17, 2017

This is the first Saturday of the NOMADS week so we slept in a little, had breakfast and then drove north about an hour to Norman, OK. Gwen and Gary went with us. Our target was the University of Oklahoma (OU) campus, but before we went there we stopped at Jason’s Deli for lunch. We all enjoyed our food, especially the free ice cream.  After lunch it was on to OU for our 1:00 tour of the National Weather Center. The tours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but they do not allow walk-ins. You must preregister online. The National Weather Center is a 250,000 sqft, 5 story building housing the OU meteorology school, as well as the center for climatology, the National Weather Service (NWS) Storm Prediction Center, the NWS Norman Forecast Office and other university and government offices. There was a short video before the tour began and then an OU student lead our tour. We had a large group which included several high school seniors who were considering attending OU. The first stop on the tour was the observation deck on the top floor. view-from-deckThere is an outside deck as well as an inside/glass walled area ideal for watching storms approach. From the observation area you can see a long way. With no hills/mountains to block your view it would be a great place for watching storms and tornadoes move in. There is all sorts of equipment on the roof gathering information to assist in forecasting and research. From there we moved to the 5th floor which houses the OU School of Meteorology. There are all the necessary offices, research areas and labs to support the school.

Storm Prediction Center

On to the 2nd floor, and we visited the Storm Prediction Center and the local weather office. All severe thunder storm watches and tornado watches for the lower 48 states are issued by the Storm Prediction Center as large polygons.

Norman WFO

Once the polygons are drawn, the local forecast offices determine which counties in their forecast areas are included in the watch. There are at least 4 people on duty in the SPC at all times to follow the weather systems moving across the US. Doesn’t really seem like enough people to cover the entire country.

The tour ended at the Flying Cow Cafe – a reference to the cows in the movie “Twister”. flying-cowIn the lobby just outside the cafe is a display of three weather sensor pods – two fake ones that were used as props in the movie “Twister” and a real one usesensors by the NWS to try to capture readings inside a tornado. Dorothy (left) and D. O. T. (center) are the props. Toto (right) is real.

animated globe.jpg
Large globe in lobby that has weather and earthquake information projected onto it

The tour was interesting, but somewhat disappointing. We had hoped for more time spent touring the NWS offices, but most of the tour seemed to be a recruiting effort for the OU meteorology school.

After leaving the weather center, we made a stop at Sprouts Grocery store. They had some really good looking fruits and veggies at nice prices today. We loaded up on fruits and veggies since our grocery stores are limited in Elmore City and Maysville. We will have some good food in our lunches next week..

Hope everyone has a great weekend because we are!


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Today was another beautiful sunny day. So we have finished our first week on the 2017 Oklahoma Disaster Rebuild Project. It’s been a great week. Today we completed our first assignment. It was a one bedroom, one bath home in the middle of the area that flooded in Maysville. The rebuild began several months ago – “before Halloween” per the home owner. The application process began even before that. The home owner said he had decided that his home was a total loss and he would just get it bulldozed and sell the lot since he didn’t have any insurance and not enough money to do anything else. Someone from United Methodist Disaster Response-Oklahoma came by to see him. He told them they could take a look but…. When he was told they could help him he wanted to know what was the catch. “From my experience ain’t nothing free so what’s the catch.” First a VIM team came in and mucked the house out. A team from Colorado came in and started the rebuild working on the interior and exterior. Several more VIM teams from Oklahoma and  Louisiana worked on the house. Finally this week, we had the joy of completing the final work. Today we finished the painting, installed shelves in the closets, installed bathroom fixtures and generally cleaned up the construction mess.

Finished tub and shower
Finished bathroom shelves
Finished closet
One of many patched walls

It is the tradition of NOMADS that everyone who works on a rebuild writes a note to the homeowner including one of our favorite scriptures, in a Bible that we then present to the homeowner. bible-redactedThis afternoon we presented the Bible to the homeowners of “house #1.” It was so great. The homeowners were so happy and yes tears were shed. A few months ago they were hopeless. Today, with the help of people who love God, they are back in a home that is better than before the flood. What was the catch? Only that he and his wife have been surrounded by the love of God for the past several months. They were truly amazed.

Today some of us also visited the next home we will begin working on Monday. This one has been mucked out but the rebuild has not begun. We have LOTS to do and it will NOT be completed in a week.



After work we drove over to the Elmore City Recreation Area. It is a nice area with baseball and softball fields plus a nice lake with about 4 piers for fishing and a boat ramp. Scout would have loved this place. You can walk all around the lake and there is a nice picnic area. There is also what appeared to us as a fill site for water trucks/fire trucks. Didn’t see any trucks come in but…that’s what it looked like to us.


We had a question about our devotions from one of our readers and asked that we consider sharing a little more about that time. We will try to do that as we go forward. As general information, everyone on the team picks the day they want to bring the devotion. We usually start out by singing “This is the Day” and maybe a prayer. Then there is whatever the person of the day wants to bring – a devotion from their favorite devotion book or some sort of meditation. We have a little discussion as appropriate. We keep a prayer list that we review/add to each day, and have prayer. We sometimes sing another song. The primary thought for today was that we are all called to be seekers. To be a true follower of Jesus means we must become an all-out seeker of Him. Yes, we know him, but there is so much more of Him to know. Proverbs 2:1-6, Jeremiah 2:13. The devotion was taken partially from Seedbed Daily Text.

Tomorrow we plan to go to the National Weather Center and Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK. We have a tour scheduled for 1:00. Should be a fun day.