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Toby Keith Returns to Help Family, Friends in Moore, Oklahoma

Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Toby Keith had just flown from Oklahoma to Nashville when Monday’s tornado hit, killing 24 in his hometown of Moore. The singer returned to find the streets and businesses he’d known and frequented since he was a kid in tatters, and neighbors beginning the recovery process.

“As bad as it looks right now,” Keith told ‘TODAY’ host Matt Lauer, “these people – they are so prepared for it … they’ll bounce back. Homes will start going up quick and they’ll prepare for the next one.” He explained how he grew up four blocks away from the worst of it and used to run to a grocery store — now destroyed — to buy baseball cards.

The interview took place outside of Keith’s sister’s home, which was still standing, but clearly uninhabitable. The roof of the brick home was mostly peeled off and windows were shattered. Compared to the hundreds of structures that were leveled, she was fortunate. The Keith family in general was lucky; the singer says his mother lives one mile south of the storm’s path, he lives three miles south of that, and all were safe.

“My son-in-law heard about it, knew about the school, drove over there, flipped his truck getting in, got out … got electrocuted, ran a nail through his foot and got in a tunnel and had a tunnel collapse on him and got inside and helped pull bodies out,” the singer reveals.

Keith encouraged donations to the American Red Cross and Salvation Army. A benefit concert involving Blake Shelton and NBC is said to be in the works.

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