A Good Samaritan found an unusual item at his Mill Creek residence that traveled about 30 miles in the arms of the tornado that struck southern Oklahoma about two weeks ago.


A Good Samaritan found an unusual item at his Mill Creek residence that traveled about 30 miles in the arms of the tornado that struck southern Oklahoma about two weeks ago.


On Feb. 11, Terry Neal awoke to find the roof of a Ford Mustang parked near his driveway a half-mile south of County Red Bud Road.


“We started into school on Wednesday morning and I saw it laying about 100 feet from my driveway,” Neal said. “That’s the complete top of the car. And it ended up in my place.”


But Neal wasn’t interested in hauling the 25-pound keepsake off to the dump for scrap metal. Instead he wanted to do something more neighborly for the owner.


“I wanted to try and find her,” said Neal, who added that finding Barbara Jones wasn’t too hard, since her name was inscribed on the piece of metal in scarlet red letters.


Neal did the bulk of his sleuthing at a 7th-grade basketball game between Sulphur and Plainview, where he spoke with a Lone Grove coach.


The coach knew the owner’s family and was able to point Neal in the right direction to personally return the top of the car that Jones was getting ready for her 8-year-old granddaughter, Brooklyn.
“She was kind of devastated (after the storm),” Jones said. “But she was excited when she saw the top of her car. All the lettering stayed on perfectly.”


Jones added that the family incurred about $150,000 to $200,000 in damage from the storm, but the gift from Neal helped raise their spirits.


“When I drove up that night and saw our garage and our shop gone, I didn’t think anything could be worse,” Jones said. Finding the roof of the car “was a small victory. At least we got a piece of it back that we didn’t have.”


But Neal isn’t the only one finding all sorts of personal items and working to get them back to their rightful owners. The hundreds of volunteers working under Lone Grove Assembly of God Church found various types of keepsakes and valuables during their cleanup work to help the victims of the storm.


“We’ve found everything from wallets to lots of pictures, bank statements and just odds and ends,” said Teri Beane, outreach minister at the local church. “As volunteers find items — mementos and pictures and things — they bring them to us and then we turn them into the police department.”


And that’s exactly what officials at the police department have been encouraging people to do.


“If they find anything of value, bring it to us and we can keep it in a safe place, instead of just letting people come up and look through it, because unfortunately there are people that will try to claim things that aren’t theirs,” said Lone Grove Police Chief Robert Oldham. “We’ve returned a lot of property that people have come up here and claimed, Guns, purses, and one safe that I know of. It had taken a pretty good beating, but it still worked.”


Keith Howard, 221-6542
keith.howard@ardmoreite.com