With Bryan Hutton’s wife Brenda currently serving in the military and currently being deployed to Afghanistan. Bryan and Ricky, his 2 ½ year old son, were just going to head off for a nice road trip in their 2012 JK Jeep Rubicon. So they headed out from their home town of Dayton, OH and set their sights on Bryan’s original home town of Moore, OK. They were just out to get a little quality time in with family and friends back home. (Now I know all you Jeep guys are going to say, that ain’t a Rubicon. Well it is, Bryan had just removed the decals)
Now Bryan loves to take his Rubi off road and try different trails and obstacles but he was in for some challenges that are sure not covered in the owner’s manual.
Bryan was fully aware of what an Oklahoma EF-5 tornado can do since he stood and watched the May 3rd 1999 Twister head into Moore from this exact same location and then it turned away from their home. He had seen first hand what they could do to his home town.
When the sirens went off plans were made to head for a neighbors storm shelter if this Twister continued to develop. Bryan pulled his Jeep into his parent’s garage to protect it from hail damage. As he pulled it into the garage he decided to slide it into 4 low and lock in the lockers. He just had a feeling. As the storm moved across the river it quickly developed into a monster tornado. Bryan took a few precautions, one being he took the time to put a helmet on Ricky just to be safe.
After getting Ricky safely into the storm shelter he ran back into his folks house to try to retrieve their Yorkshire Terrier that was afraid of storms to begin with. He was unable to find the dog and had to head for shelter himself. Sadly the family pet did not survive.
As he ran to the shelter he could hear the houses begin to shake. While getting to the shelter he grabbed a couple of quick pics with his phone.
Bryan barely got into the shelter as parts of the roofs began to be pull off of the houses and fly through the air. With door now shut they could hear the awful roar. They could hear the sound of breaking boards and the ripping apart of the homes. The door of the shelter was being pounded with debris.
As soon as the first wave of the storm passed they begin to smelling the strong odor of natural gas in the shelter. Also the elderly neighbor gentleman in the shelter with them was on oxygen so his bottle was also present. This made for a little concern with the unstable situation they were facing.
As this first part of the storm passed Bryan felt the definite drop in pressure then it became calm. They were in the eye of the tornado. Then the back edge of the tornado moved in. It was like being mortared.
As the twister again pounded the storm shelter they were in, they hunkered down to await its passing. Then as it moved off they could hear the debris still dropping on the door. But even though there was still stuff falling from the sky they opened the door to the shelter because of the smell of natural gas. They did have to drop the door once again as a large chunk of debris came toward them. When they finally emerged from the shelter they could see the large debris cloud moving away and the neighborhood was totally destroyed.
Now they had a good idea of which neighbors were home and in their house since they had been visiting with them as the storm was brewing and had done a little bit of checking on them before hand.
Bryan quickly headed down the street to his childhood friend’s house that he knew were still in what was left of their home. They were trapped in a small room in the center of their house and trying to use timbers to help hold back the falling walls. The roof was completely gone but they could see little because of all the dirt and stuff in their eyes. Bryan was able to help get the wall pulled back off of them and see that they were basically alright.
As they then looked around they could tell that the whole neighborhood had been flattened. Knowing that there were still many people still trapped inside their fallen walls he thought about what they could use to assist the trapped people.
Bryan thought if only he could get the Jeep started and out of the wreckage he would use the 4x4 and winch to pull the wreckage from atop of their neighbors. As he ran toward the Jeep he had little hope that it would run, but it was worth a try. It had rafters and debris through the soft top.
He was able to get the driver’s door open just enough so he could push the clutch in with his hand and then turn the ignition. To his delight the Rubicon fired right up. He reached in and jerked the shifter into reverse. The Rubi begin to dig and claw its way backwards out of the debris and out of the garage. Once she cleared the debris he was able to get it stopped on the driveway.
He began to remove the boards and timbers from the interior of the Jeep so he could get inside. Now needing a safe place for Randy to be while he drove off to assist victims, Ricky was placed in his car seat and handed a bottle of water where he would be stationed for hours and never once complained.
Bryan then took the Jeep and using his wireless controller for his Hybrid Warn BR 8000 lbs winch so that he could position his Jeep and attach the winch cable where he needed and stay close to the victims while operating the winch with the remote control.
Bryan's mighty Jeep Rubicon continued to work hard and do whatever she was asked to do. Though she had flatten 3 of her BFG tires she continued to answer every call. After some time the emergency response personal began to show and Bryan pulled back and just served on whatever the professionals asked him to do.
As soon as they would get someone uncovered from the debris, if they were not injured seriously they would immediately join in on the next rescue. As they moved on down the street they were building a small army of rescue workers.
They used the Jeep to transport injured to the medical personnel and then later helped families with small children haul them and clothing out of the area.
When things begin to slow down just a bit Bryan noticed that the Monstaliner roll- on liner had held up amazingly well as it had been pounded by the storm. The only place that any metal showed was where the outside of the Jeep had been creased by flying debris and split the liner.
After all of the abuse that Bryan’s Rescue Rubi had been through it saddened him to think that now it was time that he would have to let it go. No doubt it was totaled.
Well I think we are safe in saying “WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE JEEP KEEPS GOING”. Not only did Bryan’s 2012 Stomper Rubi stand tall during the disaster of the Moore, OK. tornado, I think we all must agree that Bryan indeed was a HERO as well as he jumped in and worked tirelessly in the rescuing of his friends and neighbors.
About the time Bryan had made peace with the fact that his beloved Rubi would soon be finding a new home at the insurance salvage pool his pictures hit facebook and spread like wide fire. He began getting messages from all around.
Crocker Off Road Performance from Phoenix, AZ. have agreed to rebuild Bryan’s now famous Rubi as soon as insurance adjusters will release it. It will be hauled west and the process will begin.
Although the stories of many hero’s have rolled out of this disaster, I think Bryan and Stomper, his Rescue Rubi, is one of special interest to our off road community. Now it's off to Crocker for some much needed TLC for Stomper.
God Bless Bryan and all the hundreds of others that have assisted the families of Moore, OK. and the other locations in Oklahoma that were so viciously attacked by these monster storms.
God Bless You and Yours-----David Austin---Okie Out