Arch rivals support wildfire victims

MANNFORD, Okla. - At Mannford's Upper Elementary School, it's class as normal, or at least as normal as can be expected, after several students, and school staff,  lost their homes to those recent, devastating wildfires.
 
Zachary Keeling says he's living in a borrowed camper.

"We have nothing left."     

Neither does Molly Esnnond.   All that's left of her home .... ash and rubble.  

"It was really scary."       

But going to school, those young fire victims say, helps take their minds off of the crisis facing their families.

 "It was hard at first to get a hold of it, but now it's better."

And better still, after this surprise visit by fifth graders from Bristow. 

Since both Bristow and Mannford call themselves the pirates, they came bearing treasure chests, full of handmade tie-dyed bandannas, and friendship bracelets.

 "We're so sorry for the fire and if it burned down any of their houses."

Patrick Lupp and Lanessa Siggers helped make those gifts.

And they wanted to deliver them face to face, heart to heart.

"We wanted to let them know that we care."   

 During the short drive to Mannford, Patrick and Lanessa say they saw the wildfire destruction first hand for the first time.

"I got chills and it made me want to cry, because I felt so bad."

 "It was really sad, we couldn't stand to look at it."  

And just how sad they are, is expressed in these hand written letters they delivered, too.

And even though the Bristow Pirates and the Mannford Pirates are usually arch rivals, the wildfires stoked new relationships, ones Zachary and his classmates appreciate.

 "Just because we're competing in football and basketball, doesn't mean we can't be friends."    

New found friends, young kids making a difference,  pirate to pirate.

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