By Nick Woodruff
STILLWATER, Okla. —
CARNEY — On the first day of the fall semester on Thursday, Carney Public Schools got Rumbled.
Three months after a tornado ripped through the small rural community, the school district welcomed students back to school in grand fashion.
Rumble, the mascot for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Pistol Pete, the mascot for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, made special appearances at the event that included volunteers distributing free school supplies to students.
On May 19, a tornado whipped through Carney, causing significant structural damage. Some families lost almost everything that day because of Mother Nature’s force.
John Frick, vice president of church relations, said Thursday’s event let Carney residents know they aren’t alone in troubled times.
“It’s a day we are here and bringing hope to the families and the students of Carney,” Frick said. “It’s for the victims of the tornado on May 19.”
Volunteers from Oklahoma State University, LifeChurch and the community of Carney participated, Frick said.
Feed the Children, a nonprofit organization responsible for organizing the event, provided supplies such as backpacks and other goodies, Frick said. He said he was hoping the materials would help parents get their children ready for school.
The biggest hit of the day was when Rumble, the Thunder mascot, made a visit. Rumble rolled into Carney Public Schools on a Segway at approximately 11 a.m.
Students jumped with joy as Rumble went around the playground taking pictures and playing with the children. Frick said little things like Rumble making an appearance can have a huge impact on children.
Pistol Pete also made a visit, along with Oklahoma State cheerleaders and OSU volunteers.
Pistol Pete made his grand entrance by shooting his pistols and walking to the OSU fight song.
Even though Pistol Pete and Rumble stole the show, Carolyn Craven, president of the Families Helping Families outreach program in Carney, said the volunteers are the real stars.
Craven said the event went better than expected and Carney is lucky to have a caring community.
“It was awesome and it’s been overwhelming,” Craven said.
“We’ve had Rumble and Pistol Pete. We are lucky to have Feed the Children. We are just blessed and we are just thankful for everyone who has shown up.”
Bo Osborn, superintendent of Carney Public Schools, said it was a great thing what volunteers have done for the school.
“We’ve got kids with happy faces,” he said. “So I think we have met our goal.”