Stories Behind 3 Iconic Moore, OK Tornado Aftermath Photos

The details behind each photo changed during the aftermath chaos of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado, but the staggering power of the photos remained.

1. Big Dog and Little Dog

Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman via AP

The hug seen ‘round the world was initially thought to be a teacher embracing a student in the Briarwood Elementary aftermath, but it was later learned by CNN that the man and child were neighbors.

The emotional man is Jim Routon and the 7-year-old boy is Hezekiah.

The boy told CNN that he knew Routan was going to “pick me up, so I just jumped. And I just started hugging you really hard. I was crying a little bit, and I was happy that I survived.”

As for the picture becoming a face of the storm, Routon told CNN, “It actually helps us, you know, in the healing process — and helps us to learn and see that … we have to depend on one another to get through these types of things.”

2. The Cobbs

Paul Hellstern, The Oklahoman via AP

Originally believed to be teachers carrying and guiding students away from the after math of debris that became Briarwood Elementary after the tornado hit, it was later learned that Steve and LaDonna Cob — parents — had gone to the school as the tornado bared down, they told CNN.

The Oklahoman newspaper photographer Paul Hellstern told CNN he’d arrived in the destroyed neighborhood — later determined to be EF-5 destruction — roughly 5 minutes after the tornado swept through and began snapping pictures of the “children pouring out.”

“It was pandemonium, with children crying everywhere, bloody teachers and so forth.”

LaDonna was, in fact, a teacher at Brairwood Elem., but she had the day off and had only gone to the school with Steve because of the storm, she told CNN. “Him, and I, and the teacher, just jumped on top of the kids and rode it out there.”

Hellstern snapped the picture of the family as the emerged from the school.

3. Susie

Posted on the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office’s social media sites in the direct after of the Moore tornado Monday, May 20, this little dog’s resolute stare in the destruction would go viral as a symbol of animal survival.

In the coming days, the sheriff’s office shared the revelation that the dog was found by a deputy searching for victims found the 12-year old Schipperke-Border Collie mix “standing guard over a deceased male inside a house in Moore.

The deputy convinced the dog to leave the side of the deceased victim, and eventually made sure the pup was taken to an emergency tornado animal shelter,” according to the OCSO.

“Susie” reunited with her owner Curtis May 22, 2013.

On Tuesday, a woman named Sheila Collins posted on the OCSO Facebook page that the dog actually belonged to her brother Curtis Collins who had been searching for “Susie”.

The deputy who found her contacted Sheila and the dog was returned to her owner, Curtis May on Wednesday. “Curtis has no idea why she stood guard of the victim whom he did not know,” the sheriff’s office stated.

Susie reunited with her owner, Curtis May.

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