Toby Keith, Garth Brooks top Oklahoma Twister Relief benefit

Saturday’s country music all-star gathering for the Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert in Norman, Okla., has aready generated at least $1 million for recovery efforts following the killer storms that swept through the region in May.

The $1 million is being donated by Wal-Mart and the Walmart Foundation, which also is sponsoring the concert featuring Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, Willie Nelson, Trisha Yearwood, Carrie Underwood, Sammy Hagar and others. The concert will be held at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

Keith, who spearheaded the show, said in a statement, "I grew up in Moore, I live in Norman and I've got lots of family and friends who were directly affected. I know these folks and they're resilient, but we're going to keep helping them any way we can. I'm proud to get together with some others from around here who are just as committed as I am to supporting these communities."

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Brooks and Underwood will be going the extra mile to be involved. Underwood, who will be in Nashville on Saturday, will participate in the relief concert via satellite.

Brooks’ day will be more logistically complex. He will perform at 4 p.m. Central time because he has long been committed to three sold-out encore performances in Las Vegas on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, shows that are being taped for future DVD release.

An Oklahoma native, Brooks will play his set at the Twister Relief show, hop in the Lear jet that Las Vegas magnate Steve Wynn provided him to facilitate his emergence from self-imposed retirement for his three-year stint at Wynn’s Encore Theater. If all goes according to plan, Brooks will arrive in plenty of time for his 8 p.m. Pacific time show.

“Once we got the news that the tornado had hit Toby's hometown, Miss Yearwood and I told Toby we were at his service for whatever he chose to do," Brooks said in the same statement. "I am amazed at the human spirit the tornado victims have shown. I am humbled by the giving of the volunteers. It is an honor to get to be a part of this healing process."

Verizon Wireless has set up a donate-by-text feature to allow those who won’t be at the shows to contribute. By texting the word RELIEF to 52000, $10 will be automatically donated to the United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund, which is the beneficiary of the concert proceeds as well.

Donations also can be made online at the United Way home page at To give by credit card, call (405) 523-3598, (405) 523-3597 or the United Way of Central Oklahoma's main number: (405) 236-8441. Checks may be mailed to the United Way of Central Oklahoma, P.O. Box 837, Oklahoma City, OK 73101 with notation for May Tornadoes Relief.


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Follow Randy Lewis on Twitter: @RandyLewis2 


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