June 18, 2013
By Gary Ozzello
FORT COLLINS, Colo.--Mason Myers knows now more than ever what is most important in his life.
"I definitely learned, I grew up the past couple weeks when I was home, and learned what life truly is about," Myers said. " It's about the people you are with and you care about. Football and school, those are important things in my life. But family and friends are what are really important."
Myers said his family are not his blood relatives, but also teammates on the Colorado State football team, completing the circle of what is most important to him.
"Those guys are my family."
Myers may have had that in mind before, but events on May 20 crystallized them in his mind.
Myers had returned to Moore, Okla., for a brief summer break. Having just finished spring semester classes at Colorado State, Myers had a few weeks to spend with his family before returning to Fort Collins for summer classes and offseason workouts.
The 6-foot, 3-inch, 302-pound junior offensive lineman had just left his father's workplace that day when it became apparent severe weather was headed their way.
"My mom had picked me up from work and we went to the grocery store. When we came out that's when we noticed how bad the storm was. It was raining, and there was lightning," he explained.
"When we got home, we were watching the news on TV, and that's when we noticed there was a supercell headed right for Moore. One of the fire chiefs in Moore had let us know a storm was coming, but we didn't know how bad it was, or how fast. You never know sometimes how fast they are coming.
"When the sirens went off, we got my grandpa and my sister, and rushed into the closet underneath the stairs."
Myers said the roar of the tornado, with winds estimated at 210 miles an hour, sounded like a locomotive passing over their house. He said about 10 minutes later, the storm had passed. Myers' home had been left untouched by the deadly twister, but it was quickly apparent many neighbors in the suburb of Oklahoma City had been hit hard by the storm.
With his family safe, Myers quickly headed toward the local high school in search of his best friend, a coach at the pair's alma mater.
Finding his friend, they quickly turned their efforts to digging through rubble, trying to assist others, including those at Briarwood Elementary, one of two schools devastated by the storm.
The storm caused 24 fatalities, and 377 people were injured. The devastating tornado caused an estimated $2 billion in damages. Recovery will be long and arduous, but Myers reiterated just how resilient are the residents of Moore, Okla.--a resiliency that has been on display to many since the events of May 20.
Mason Myers and his Colorado State teammates are currently taking part in the Rams' offseason strength and conditioning program. Fall camp begins in early August, and the season opener vs. Colorado kicks off on Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, at 4 p.m.
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