KINGSTON, Okla. (BP) – Keith Rogers planned to celebrate his 65th birthday preaching to Texoma Southern Baptist Church on March 27. Despite a tornado that destroyed the building and his home days earlier, he was still able to do so.
A fast-moving storm through this area on the Texas/Oklahoma border March 21 destroyed or heavily damaged most of the buildings on the church’s property. Built in 1972, it had added other sections over the years including a gym, education space and the parsonage where Rogers and his wife, Cindy, had lived since arriving in September 2006.
“We had been seeing on the news that storms were in Texas,” said Rogers. The forecast led to them calling off a WMU meeting, and he arrived home to threatening skies.
Cindy had been watching the weather reports. Rogers went into the bedroom for a moment and while there, turned on a local news channel.
“They mentioned that the tornado warnings had expired, so I went back into the living room to tell Cindy, but then I noticed the winds pick up and get stronger. I thought they were downburst winds, but this was different,” he recalled.
A sense of danger hit and Rogers told his wife to run for the hallway.
“I yelled, ‘Bathroom!’ and we went in. Right when we shut the door, we could hear the glass and everything breaking,” he said.
Within 15 seconds their roof was gone. Two minutes beyond that the storm had passed.
Recovery and assistance
A National Weather Service report confirmed that at approximately 6:16 p.m. a tornado crossed the Red River and into Marshall County, quickly intensified into an EF-2 and touched down near Texoma Church. Shortly thereafter it weakened and lifted off the ground.
Insurance adjusters are still evaluating the facilities, but to the regular observer, it’s a total loss. The tornado peeled off the gym’s roof and took the fellowship hall along with its 125 chairs and 25 tables, Rogers said. The damage extended to the office space and classrooms.