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Teachers Are Awesome: Educators as Heroes in Oklahoma Tornado

Teachers in Moore threw their bodies over their students to rescue them. They deserve our gratitude.


With dozens of fatalities and hundreds injured, a day after a tornado obliterated Moore, Oklahoma, it's easy to understand why Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin said that our "hearts are broken." Yet what gives us hope in the aftermath of tragedies like this are the heroic stories of everyday people going above and beyond to save lives. In particular, those teachers from two elementary schools in Moore, Plaza Towers and Briarwood, gave their all to protect their students.

One rescuer told Oklahoma NBC affiliate KFOR how he helped save a teacher who was stuck underneath a car in a school hallway. "I don’t know what that lady's name is, but she had three little kids underneath her," he said. He started crying as he added, "Good job, teach."

That incredible story is not the exception. This morning the TODAY Show's Savannah Gutherie spoke with Damian Britton, a fourth grader at Plaza Towers. Britton described how sixth grade teacher, Rhonda Crosswhite, saved his life and the lives of five other kids in the school restroom. As for the brave teacher, in the video above Crosswhite told Gutherie, "I never thought I was going to die. The whole time I just kept screaming to them, 'Quit worrying, we're fine, we're fine, we're fine,'"

Crosswhite shared how "One of my little boys just said, he just kept saying, 'I love you, I love you, please don't die with me, please don't die with me.'" The video also shows the emotional reunion of Britton with Crosswhite. "I told you we were gonna be okay," she sobbed as she hugged the boy.

There are much needed emergency efforts underway to help Moore and the surrounding area. But one way we can help acknowledge these educators over the long run is by helping rebuild their schools. To that end nonprofit is spearheading a donation campaign to help the two schools and the teachers in Moore. They say:

"We will help them create classroom recovery projects for everything from furniture to food to therapy resources. These teachers know best what their students need, and we can empower them to rebuild their classrooms."


In a statement this morning President Obama said that these teachers deserve our gratitude. Let's back that gratitude up with action and help them rebuild.

Click here to add helping rebuild schools in Oklahoma to your GOOD "to-do" list.

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