Bryant Bank seeks donations for Oklahoma Tornado Relief Fund

By Sarah Pfledderer

On the heels of the devastation that swept through Oklahoma and the heart of one of its suburbs, Alabamians are providing monetary relief to victims of the May 20 tornado that left 24 deceased and hundreds injured.

Bryant Bank and Nucor Steel Tuscaloosa, Inc. have teamed up to create the Oklahoma Tornado Relief Fund, which will go toward distributing Bryant Bank gift cards to Oklahoma residents affected by the tornado, mainly in Moore, Okla.

Donations are accepted at any Bryant Bank location or via PayPal on the bank’s website at Bryantbank.com/oklahoma-tornado-relief-fund.php. The fund, which opened May 22, is slated to close Monday, June 3 at noon. Bryant Bank employees from the Tuscaloosa branch will travel to Oklahoma to dole out the gift cards in person.

“People have really stepped up to be a part of this,” said Billy Jones, president of Bryant Bank’s Columbiana branch. “Even though this is not right next door to Alabama, we realize they need this help.

“We know how devastating it is to go through something like this when everything is gone and you’re trying to pick up the pieces,” he said in reference to the deadly tornado outbreak that hit parts of Alabama in 2011.

Nucor agreed to match up to $10,000 in raised donations for the Oklahoma Tornado Relief Fund and is working directly with the city of Moore to determine how to distribute the gift cards.

While Jones said there’s no goal amount to be raised, about $15,000 has already been donated, making the amount more than $25,000 with Nucor’s matched donation.

The fund, he added, is a reminder of the aid Alabama received after the 2011 tornadoes and is somewhat of a means to pay that relief forward.

“It’s important for us to (recognize) the rest of the country stepped in to provide help and support to Alabama during a time when we really needed it,” he said. “That’s why we want to give back to the people in Oklahoma.”