Coachella Valley woman with Oklahoma roots donates to relief effort

Caroline Bartlett lives in Indian Wells, but considers the city of Moore home-- at least in her heart

POSTED: 06:06 PM PDT May 22, 2013    UPDATED: 06:06 PM PDT May 22, 2013 
PALM DESERT, Calif. -

We met Caroline Bartlett at the KESQ News Channel 3 / CBS Local 2 fundraiser for the victims of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado.

She now lives in Indian Wells, but Moore is where her heart is.

"I remember when Moore only had a population of 325 people in 1943, when I lived there with my grandparents," Bartlett said.

Her grandfather, George Augustus Eberle, founded the First National Bank in Moore. She said the slogan was, "Serving Moore since 1904."

Bartlett said the bank sat on what once was Eberle Drive, a road named after her family.   Her grandfather also helped save the city during the Great Depression.

"He loaned all the money he could from the bank and his own pocket to the farmers," said Bartlett.  "Without him, Moore wouldn't exist," she continued.

Bartlett could only watch the city be ripped apart by the monstrous tornado on Monday.

"Everything looked like matchboxes crumbled up and the feeling that children had their hands up against the wall for 40 minutes in more than 200 mile per hour winds, makes your heart sick."

Her neighbors were left with nothing.

"They've lost everything, not just a photo album or furniture, they've lost everything," she said.

However, there are some things they haven't lost.

"Not their character or their strength. Oklahomans, we're strong," said Bartlett.

As Bartlett made a donation to the American Red Cross at the news station fundraiser, she asked the community step in to help.

The American Red Cross has several shelters open in Oklahoma and Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles have begun delivering hot meals throughout the affected areas. The Red Cross is also working to link loved ones in Moore who are OK through a website called Safe and Well.

Text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, donate online, or donate by phone at 1-800-RED CROSS.