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Tinker FCU reopens branch demolished by tornado
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (1/27/14)--An Oklahoma credit union branch devastated by a tornado last spring is set to reopen today with a tribute to a "saving" plan no financial institution wants to offer.
 
Click to view larger image After being destroyed by a tornado in May, a rebuilt branch of Tinker FCU in Moore, Okla., will reopen today. (Photos courtesy of Tinker FCU)
The new Moore, Okla., branch of Tinker FCU will feature a monument made from part of an old safe deposit vault used as a makeshift storm shelter by 23 people during the May 2013 tornado. It will also feature the original building's dedication plaque, and an inscription that pays tribute to the lives saved and the spirit of Oklahomans in times of distress.
 
"We are all so happy to be back home and in the community," said Jan Davis, assistant vice president and Moore branch manager. "We are absolutely thrilled to reopen, and it is so apparent on the faces of all of the employees here."
 
Click to view larger image Only the safe deposit box vault was left standing in the aftermath of the EF5-scale tornado that hit the area near Oklahoma City May 20, 2013.
Ribbon-cutting celebrations will also feature free commemorative coins to members, and a sale of Moore/Tinker T-shirts--the proceeds of which will benefit a fund that finances storm shelters for the town's public schools.
 
After the storm, only the vault was left standing at the Moore branch of the $3.1 billion-asset credit union. Fourteen staffers and nine members were attended to by first responders within minutes. The emergency workers helped the group out, due to debris blocking the door, and took shelter with the refugees at a basement across the street as a second system of storms approached. The 23 people who took refuge in the credit union escaped physically unscathed (News Now May 22).
 
The clean-up process started days after the storm, and reconstruction on the Tinker branch was under way 62 days after the EF5 tornado swept through Moore. The credit union said that the new branch will feature a space-maximizing floor plan with the same number of offices, teller windows and drive-through lanes.
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