The Family, Of Us: Moore, Oklahoma

Don Barone
Brent Chapman was one of several B.A.S.S. anglers on hand to help the children fish.

About the author

Don Barone

Don Barone

db has been in the reporting biz for over 30 years, won some Emmys and other awards, but is proudest of his four-decade marriage, his two kids and the fact he founded Tackle The Storm Foundation to help children.

“And love will…”

Dateline:  Buck Thomas Park

It wasn’t about the rods.

We came…

It wasn’t about the reels.


It wasn’t about the fish.

….you and…

It was about,


Tackle The Storm Foundation isn’t about,

the storm,

or the tackle,

it’s about, us.

Doesn’t matter if you hold a rod and a reel, or hold the hand of one who does, doesn’t matter if you hold the tools that build the fishing industry, or hold a pen that writes about it, don’t matter none.

What matters most, is what you hold in your heart,

for those who fish,

and those that love those who fish.

What matters most,



all of us in,

The Family, Of Us.

“…hold us together…”

We live on a planet where magic happens.

There is magic on earth and it is called, caring, caring for others.

For 30 years I was in the business of madness, wrote the headlines of horror, smelled of nasty and smoke.

Three decades of making cash on carnage.

I now know, that all the awards I have won, should be sent back, sent back because I only told you half the story, and maybe not even the most important half.

It would have been easy to do a better job for you, all I had to do,

was be late.

Missed the breaking news deadline, showed up a day or so after the flames.

Maybe, we as journalists, should slow down some, be late, hang around more, forget the rush to be “Live,” focus more on the “lives.”

There is no magic in the flames, magic comes when the smoke clears.

“…make us a shelter…”

Normal, gets a bad rap.

It’s life’s, vanilla.  The flannel of day to day doings.  The routine of our lives, not much magic there,

until its gone.

Is it the destruction of stuff, or the destruction of normal, that hurts so much. 

I’m checking the Normal box.

Normal is our safe place, take that away, and suddenly, we see, feel, just how vulnerable we all are.

How fragile, we.

Last week, my wife, Barb, and I packed up our Tundra, drove a thousand miles to Alabama to pick up the new Tackle The Storm trailer, then headed west to the City of Moore, Oklahoma.

Most people thought we were bringing fishing rods and reels to the children of Moore who lost all of their fishing stuff to the tornado that ripped through the town this past spring.

Yeah, we had a bunch of boxes of that stuff, but it wasn’t what filled the trailer.

When we pulled up in the park for the city of Moore Parks and Recs fishing derby, I knew what we really carried to Moore was,


Return to normal disguised as a fishing pole.

“…to weather the storm…”

Mean skies.

Wicked rides the wind.

Moore, Oklahoma wasn’t destroyed, and is open for business. 

Most of it anyway. 

Moore, Oklahoma was battered and bruised and has a huge slash across its torso, whole neighborhoods are gone, schools, shops, hospital, taken by the wind, but most of it survives.

It’s a city any of us would be proud to call home.

When you look to raise your children in a normal, family oriented, faith, family, flag place, Moore would serve you well.

But it lives under mean skies.

Mean skies reached dirt there last spring, you can google all that stuff, if you must, but when we drove into town, both my wife when she saw the destruction, and my daughter, Ashley who also saw it when she drove up from Texas to help out at the fishing derby,



Turn right at some fast food joint, a burger-ria untouched by mean skies, drive less then a block, and everything is gone.

A whole neighborhood once was, now gone.  Except for a lone mailbox still standing.

Don’t know what the neighborhood was called before the mean skies but this was the only sign we saw, “Final Debris Pickup August…”

Last Saturday I got to shake the city of Moore’s hand, and from talking to the residents, from looking into their eyes I knew this,

debris, does not define them.

“…and I'll be my brother's keeper…”

“Do you know who runs this Tackle The Storm thing...”

I was walking from the parking lot, where the fishing rods and reels were being given out, to the pond where the kids were using their new rods to fish with, when a man stopped me…

“I do…”

“…will you thank them…”

“…I will…”

“…thank them for the fishing pole for my son here…”

Son here was a young kid maybe 8, stood looking at me, baseball cap on backwards, stood smiling even though he wasn’t holding a fish.

“…tell them that this is the first event I have been able to do with my son here that didn’t involve picking up debris together…”

Dads hand now rests on the boy’s shoulder.

“…tell them this is the first time we have had fun together in a long time, tell them that will you.”

“I will.”

And they, I, will never forget that.