AFTON, Okla. - Summer is here, and a lot of us are enjoying long weekends and vacations.
But for those who lost everything in the deadly tornados that hit Joplin and several towns across Oklahoma, it's time to rebuild.
One marina at Grand Lake is doing its part to keep the donations flowing. On Father's Day weekend, the docks at Thunder Bay Marina are packed. This relaxed, vacation setting may feel far away from Joplin. But it's only about 40 miles away.
"We have a lot of friends, being this far northeast in Oklahoma, a lot of friends in Joplin. So this hits home for us," said Jeremy Mullen, general manager of Ugly John's at Grand Lake.
"Rock the Dock" kicked off at Grand Lake this weekend. Several bands played on Saturday, and former football player Marcus Dupree signed autographs. But this year, the summer concert series also included a fundraiser for tornado victims.
"I'm not going to let us forget this one. I'm going to do my part to keep it in front of everybody. Because those people in Joplin, they're not going to forget for a long time. They've got a long road ahead of them," Mullen said.
Grand Lake is still rebuilding after getting hit from storms over the winter. At Thunder Bay Marina, construction starts this week to rebuild some of the docks. People here want to give back to communities like Joplin, that are so close by.
Vacationer Katie Karney says the area also took a beating during the recent storms.
"Just driving by some of the neighborhoods close by, it's terrible to see what's happened. And how people are having to rebuild," she said.
She knows the damage is much, much worse in Joplin. And hopes fundraisers like this will keep those rebuilding from tornadoes there and here in Oklahoma, in our thoughts.
"We all go on, life goes on. And if it didn't affect us, we forget about things. So it's good to have events like this, to just remind people that not only Joplin was affected, but here too," Karney said.
The summer concerts continue throughout the summer. You can donate to help tornado victims at Ugly John's at Grand Lake anytime. The funds will go to the American Red Cross.
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