NEW YORK -- The town where Jeremy Hefner spent the early part of his life has become unrecognizable. After a devastating tornado ravaged Moore, Okla., on Monday, Hefner watched the horrifying images of the destroyed town with an increasingly helpless feeling.
"At first, I think because of the amount of cellular activity going on, there was probably two and a half hours before I fully knew that everyone was OK," Hefner said, "and everybody's house was OK."
He took time before and after Monday's game to express his concern on Twitter, posting:
"My thoughts and prayers are with everyone back home.. I attended one of the schools that was hit.. Wish I was there to help."
"Oklahoma is a special place with very special people.. Please keep them in your prayers."
"If you feel led to give.. 100% goes to affected areas.. http://www. okdisasterhelp.com."
My thoughts and prayers are with everyone back home.. I attended one of the schools that was hit.. Wish I was there to help.- Jeremy Hefner (@jeremy_hefner53) May 20, 2013
Oklahoma is a special place with very special people.. Please keep them in your prayers.. twitter.com/jeremy_hefner5…- Jeremy Hefner (@jeremy_hefner53) May 21, 2013
If you feel led to give.. 100% goes to affected areas.. okdisasterhelp.com- Jeremy Hefner (@jeremy_hefner53) May 21, 2013
Hefner spent the first 10 years of his life in Moore. He attended Briarwood and Red Oak elementary schools; Briarwood is reported to have been severely hit. Hefner has family in the area, including a grandmother, uncles and cousins. He also has many friends there.
Moore was also hit by a large tornado back in 1999. Hefner and his family had moved from the area to another part of Oklahoma about two years before that.
"When I heard it was in Moore again, I was freaking out," he said.
He expects people in the town to come together and pull through the devastation.
"People from Oklahoma are resilient, and they're hard-working," he said. "This will only make them stronger, just like the one in 1999 did. It brought the community closer."
Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.