Ray Doran and volunteer Abigail Gibson sort through donations at the Westlake Multipurpose Complex on Wednesday. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 6:57 PM
Ray Doran sat in front of his TV Monday night watching the devastation a half-mile-wide tornado left in its path after ripping through an Oklahoma City suburb, and the next day he quit his job to start a relief effort for the victims.
Doran, a Westlake resident, said he wanted to go to New York after 9/11 and to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina to volunteer and provide relief to victims, but he was “talked out of it.”
“I wanted to go and help then and I let people talk me out of it. But this time I said, ‘No one is talking me out of this,’ ” he said. “This is something I’ve never done but have always felt I needed to do. I’m a soft-hearted guy. I don’t want to see people suffer. If I can help them, I want to help them.”
Doran said the effort really took off when Westlake police Officer Jason Ledet got wind of his idea and wanted to pitch in and help get donations for tornado victims in Moore, Okla.
“My son told Jason about what I was doing, and Jason posted it on Facebook,” he said. “People go all out when something like this happens, and they wanted to help out.”
On Tuesday Doran quit his contracting job of a year and a half and started collecting donations to deliver.
“I was just going to do this on my own and buy some stuff, load up my vehicle and bring it up there, but people started going all out,” he said. “I didn’t really expect a response, but it kind of snowballed.”
Doran and Ledet are asking for dry goods — like packaged snack foods, beef jerky and chips — canned goods and personal hygiene items.
Doran will be at the old recreation center in Westlake, next door to the new facility, 1221 Sampson St., 8 a.m.-6 p.m. through Friday.
He will leave Westlake on Saturday morning to deliver the items he’s collected.
Monday’s EF-5 tornado spent nearly 40 minutes on the ground, killing 24 and leaving behind a disaster zone that stretches more than 17 miles.