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BEL AIR _ A fourth-grader who finds solace in reading has teamed up with two Troopers’ Association lodges, the Maryland State Police and UPS to help restock the library shelves of tornado-ravaged schools in Moore, Oklahoma.
 
Lauren DeCourcey, 8, a student at the Tome School in North East, was moved to action by the images and news following the May 20th EF5 tornado which claimed 23 lives, injured almost 380 others, leveled the Plaza Towers Elementary School and heavily damaged two other schools. 
 
Books are an important part of life for the honor-roll student. “I love to read and I would feel completely terrible if I didn't have anything to read. A lot of their books were destroyed,” Lauren told the Cecil Whig in June. “I read every day and at night and every chance I get, except in the car – that makes me sick.”
 
The tornado coverage got her thinking about how children in the Moore community felt. “I remember some kids who helped out when the storm Sandy hit, so when the tornado was on the news in Oklahoma, I decided that I wanted to help them out,” Lauren said during the campaign kick-off on the steps of the Tome School.
 
So far, Lauren has collected nearly 4,000 books in her “Moore Reading Relief,” aimed towards children and young adults. The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd of Wilmington, DE gave 65 cases of books for the cause. Closer to home, Barnes & Noble in Bel Air has donated books, games and puzzles for the children. 
 
When news of the “Moore Reading Relief” made it to Bel Air Barrack Commander Matthew Kail, he sought the assistance of United Parcel Service of America, Inc. to facilitate getting the books shipped westward. The shipping giant Tuesday afternoon pledged assistance with transporting books from Maryland to Oklahoma. To bolster donations in the operation, which Lt. Kail dubbed “stuff-a-truck,” he designated Bel Air Barrack “D” as a collection site. Volunteers will be at the State Police barrack this weekend (both Saturday and Sunday) between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. to collect books suitable for Moore’s school libraries. 
 
Before the first edition was even collected in May, Lauren’s mother, Jane DeCourcey, connected with officials from Moore Public Schools, who were ecstatic and appreciative of the relief effort. 
 
Simultaneously, Lauren solicited the assistance of Maryland Trooper’s Association Lodges 15 and 96, which serve Cecil and Harford counties respectively. Both lodges pledged support and money for the effort.
 
The Jarrettsville Lion Club, which is promoting reading in the community this year, was also eager to assist Lauren’s endeavor. The service group donated $1,000 for the purchase of books for the drive. Lauren’s team of volunteers will be working with Barnes & Noble to select books for Moore’s school libraries.
 
To help spread the message for this weekend’s book collection event, Signs by Tomorrow of Aberdeen, MD and the Maryland State Highway Administration – Churchville Shop are helping advertise the effort.
 
For more information: Contact Lt. Matthew Kail @ (410) 838-4101.
 

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