Nightly News   |  May 27, 2013

Moore residents show resiliency after storm

The aftermath of the tornado that claimed 24 lives in Moore, Oklahoma helps show the inspiring character of its residents. NBC’s Charles Hadlock reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> it was one week ago tonight when the city of moore , oklahoma took a direct hit from an ef5 tornado which killed 24 people and injured at least 377 more. it destroyed thousands of homes and businesses and as the people continued to grieve they are thinking about the monumental task of rebuilding. charles hadlock is there.

>> reporter: the first thing retired army sergeant troy gamble searcheder i eed for in what's left of the house was his american flag .

>> that's got to go up.

>> reporter: it had flown with him in the gulf war , iraq and afghanistan and now in moore , oklahoma where he's searched for days for another cherished army memento. an army of volunteers fanned out to help people they had never met.

>> if i can be a part of helping to seize someone's burden, i'm grateful to do that.

>> these people who don't have to be here are unbelievable blessing.

>> reporter: president obama visited moore on sunday, touring the neighborhood near the devastated plaza towers elementary school where seven children died.

>> people here pride themselves on the oklahoma standard. you know, what the governor called working on disasters like this and coming out stronger on the other side. jesus loves me this i know

>> reporter: thousands packed a memorial service and listened to the song students had sung as the tornado barrelled toward briar wood elementary.

>> i knew i had to do something more than i had ever practiced before.

>> reporter: e she gathered the children under desks and tables.

>> i heard the roar of the tornado. i just didn't want them to hear it, so i told them to keep singing louder. the bible tells me so [ applause ]

>> reporter: everyone at the school got out alive.

>> yes!

>> reporter: back at sergeant gamble's house --

>> oh, my god!

>> reporter: he and his friend lisa connor finally found his military badge.

>> we are resilient people. you can kick us, beat us. we are always going to get back up.

>> reporter: a small victory in a sea of misery. president obama promised fema would be here until all the work is done. as you can see a lot of people here in moore aren't waiting on fema.

>> all right. charles hadlock in moore , oklahoma . thank you, charles .