‘Make it about celebrating life,’ Moore resident builds tree house honoring storm victims

MOORE, Okla. – One Moore resident has been building a tree house over the past year, using damaged wood from homes destroyed by the May 20, 2013 tornado.

It’s been a project a couple of years in the making for JR Webster.

“It was unfinished for a while but once the tornado hit, it gave me motivation to finish it,” Webster said.

Webster’s home wasn’t in the path of the tornado but many of his friends’ homes were.

While helping cleanup his friends’ properties, Webster was given recovered wood to finish his tree house.

That is where he carved the tornado victims’ names, including his friend Levi Marks’ sister, Jeany Neely.

“It’s a beautiful tribute to her and the victims of the tornado,” Marks said.

One year later, Marks said May 20 is about keeping the memories of his sister alive.

“Make it more about celebrating her life than dwelling on her death,” Marks said.

Marks proudly looked at her name on a tree house with the other victims, marking their time here on earth.

“That people would remember that we were affected, that our community was affected, that life is short,” Webster said.

Webster said he spent more than 100 hours working on this tree house.

He said he has a few more finishing touches to make.

Webster works for Tinker Federal Credit Union whose Moore branch was destroyed in the tornado and was the first business to rebuild and reopen.