Reporting Annie Reuter
Miranda Lambert, Reba McEntire, Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts, Vince Gill, Darius Rucker, Usher and Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic took the stage to raise money for those affected by last week’s devastating tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.
Wednesday night’s benefit raised over $6 million in pledges and ticket sales to help the community, which is dealing with the aftermath of tornado that killed 24 people. Seven children lost their lives last week, and Shelton does not take this lightly.
“I spent three Christmases at my sister’s house in Moore, Oklahoma, and some of those helicopter views of the destruction, you could see her house a quarter of a mile away from there,” he said. “My nieces and nephews would have gone to that school (Plaza Towers Elementary), and when you start putting it in that sort of perspective, and then thinking, ‘Oh my God, I am so glad that they recently moved away from that area.’ And then you go, ‘What about all those people that didn’t?’ It’s hard to put into words, honestly.”
The hour-long benefit was broadcast on NBC, CMT, Bravo and other channels, and viewers were urged to donate to United Way’s tornado relief fund.
“United Way of Central Oklahoma truly appreciates Oklahoma friends Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Reba and Vince Gill and others, for coming to help those affected by the May tornadoes and volunteering their talent to the “Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert” telethon,” United Way’s website states. “And, a big Oklahoma thank you to Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores for underwriting the expenses of the concert so that all the proceeds may go to help the survivors of this disaster. The support for central Oklahomans has been overwhelming!”
Funds raised will be distributed to United Way Partner Agencies working on the tornado relief efforts, according to a press release. The May Tornado Relief Fund will serve both immediate and intermediate needs and long-term care.
United Way of Central Oklahoma’s Disaster Relief Fund has operated to meet needs after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, the tornadoes on May 3, 1999, the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and other disasters.