Storm debris littered the streets in all directions from Gary Paxson’s neighborhood on the southern edge of Elk City known as Fairway Estates Addition or the Golf Course. Paxson was stunned when he came out of his neighbor’s storm shelter and saw his house was destroyed by the May 16 tornado.
“It happened so quick,” Paxson said, “less than 5 minutes from the time the sirens went off, I joined the neighbors in their shelter, heard a big whoosh and then it was over.” After living in this house he called home for more than 30 years, Paxton was left with nothing but memories.
Packing winds of 111 mph or higher, the tornado was rated as an EF2.
Meanwhile, in another part of town, Melody Cummings was sitting in her car, charging her phone, looking up policy numbers of her insureds and getting the claims process started. Cummings owns the Crow Insurance Agency in Elk City. She sells AFR insurance to residents in Elk City and the surrounding area.
Cummings’ house was dark as they had lost power due to the storm, but she knew her insureds needed help.
“My major concern was getting some money to them as soon as possible as I knew two of them (insureds) didn’t have anything, they couldn’t even find clothes after the storm hit,” Cummings said.
“I wanted to email our claims department with our member’s names and policy numbers so we could get the process started as soon as possible,” Cummings said.
The veteran AFR Insurance agent knows her insureds because she lives there too.