Local resident says brother, family in Oklahoma tornado’s path is OKPublished 9:17am Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Albert Lean turned to Facebook for word from loved ones
ALBERT LEA — When Albert Lean Karen O’Byrne heard news that a massive tornado swept through Moore, Okla., on Monday, her thoughts immediately turned to her brother.
Bob Boyer, a 1963 Albert Lea High School graduate, lives in the Oklahoma City suburb where a tornado devastated hundreds and killed at least 24, according to latest reports.
Bob has lived in Oklahoma for 25 years with his wife, Sarah. Their children Drew and Amy, and their families, also live there.
After multiple failed attempts to reach Bob by phone, O’Byrne took to Facebook.
“I was desperate. I didn’t know who to call,” O’Byrne said. “I wrote, ‘Please let us know if everybody’s OK.’”
She received a response from Drew’s wife, Lindsy, who said everyone was safe.
Bob was in an underground storm shelter with two of his grandchildren and Lindsy when the tornado hit. While listening to the radio from the shelter, they heard that Amy’s home was in an area directly hit.
Amy was at work.
Unable to get to the area by car, Bob and Drew walked five miles to check on the home. They found it demolished.
“It had been hit really bad,” O’Byrne said.
Bob told her he had to travel eight miles from Amy’s home to find a restaurant that had electricity. He is waiting for his own electricity and water to return and has been charging his phone in his car.
O’Byrne said this was not the first time the family endured a tornado.
In 1999, Amy lost her high school, Westmore High School, to one.
“Their family has been through it, but this is the first time that one of their homes has been taken,” she said.
O’Byrne has three other brothers, Mike, Kevin and Scott, who also reside in Albert Lea.