Sunday, May 26th, 2013,
(MOORE, OK) —President Obama remained awe-struck as he toured what remained of the town of Moore, Oklahoma, which took a direct hit by a deadly tornado May 20th. Obama walked through the pathways residents had made among the ruins of their town and homes, hugging locals and rescuers. “Thank you and God bless you all,” the President said, shaking hands of local volunteer firemen. “You’re truly heroes, all of you.”
Obama remained relatively composed as he listened to residents tell him their stories of surviving the tornado, which killed 24 people and injured 337 more. But when the President was shown what was left of a local golf course, he could contain his emotions no longer.
“This is unimaginable! This is the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever seen in my life!” said the President, busting out in tears. “The whole town is destroyed and people have died, I know, but to see a perfectly good golf course reduced to this is just…just…. I’m sorry, I have to leave!”
The Lakeside Golf Course was a modest course located in the north end of Moore, and was popular with locals and residents of Oklahoma City. What was once a lush, rolling swath of finely kept 18-holed greenery and well-placed sand traps and ponds was shredded to pieces during the storm that left a 17-mile strip of death and destruction last Monday. Trees on the course were stripped of their leaves, many uprooted, golf carts were pulverized and thrown hundreds of yards away, the sand in the sand pits gone, and debris from local homes and stores littered the course. Lakeside’s head groundskeeper, Emily Heckenbach, met with Obama to discuss the course’s devastation. “Whatever it takes, no matter how much it costs, this golf course will be back to its former self. I promise you that!” Obama told Heckenbach. “No golf course deserves this, not even the cheapest ones!”
Obama promised as much federal aid to restoring Lakeside as possible. “I’m giving this top priority,” said the President. “To have a golf course destroyed like this is beyond comprehension. And to have it remain looking like this is unacceptable. What about the surviving people who enjoyed playing here? They deserve a future. And what about the children who would have played golf here eventually? ...Where there is no golf, there is no hope!”
The President added he was confident the owners of Lakeside would no doubt be thankful for his commitment to restoring their golf course, if they were not still missing.
Craig Fugate, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has already been instructed to divert most of the agency’s recovery and cleanup efforts from helping the tornado’s victims and their property to rebuilding the Lakeside Golf Course.
“These people may not have homes and their lives may be destroyed, even lost, and we must help them rebuild their shattered community,” Obama told reporters, "but in the meantime these poor people need a place to play golf, and you better believe I’m going that to them. I feel their pain, believe me.”