CEDAR CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) - - A Utah teen is helping the school year get off to a good start for students devastated by the tornado in Moore, Oklahoma.
The deadly May tornado killed 24 people and flattened Plaza Towers Elementary School. “Basically the whole thing was just gone, building and everything in it was totally wiped out,” said Alan Anderson, 15. “There were a lot of books thrown around.”
The thought of a school without books was enough for the Cedar City teen to jump to action.
“Most of those are teacher libraries that don't get replaced by any insurance, so it's their own personal collection that they lost,” he said.
As part of an Eagle Scout project, Alan began a book drive this summer hoping to collect a maybe a few hundred books to send to Oklahoma. As they began to fill his living room, Alan wasn't prepared for the amount generosity in Enoch and Cedar City.
“Watched it pile up to more and more and was pretty astounded by how many books it turned out to be,” he said.
In two months, Alan collected more than 5,500 books. His mom, a school teacher herself, knows the value of her son's efforts.
“Each of those books at even a dollar a piece is $5,500 and all it took was a little bit of time and effort and he was able to replace something that monetarily would be extremely expensive for those teachers to replace,” said Lauralyn Anderson, Alan's mom.
Alan shot home video as a big yellow truck from YCR Freight pulled up to load the books and ship them free of charge.
The books were expected to arrive to students in Oklahoma Tuesday. Alan said he'd do it all again to help others who love to read as much as he does.
“I really like to read and it would be a really big shame if they didn't get to do that,” he said.