Trace Adkins Praises "Strong People" of Oklahoma, Trisha Yearwood Says "Heart Is Breaking" After Tornado

Plus, L.A. Dodger and Oklahoma native Matt Kemp pledges $1,000 per home run to relief efforts in wake of devastating natural disaster

By Natalie Finn May 21, 2013 10:16 PMTags
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Trace Adkins just so happens to have raised $1.5 million for the American Red Cross this year through his winning appearance on All-Star Celebrity Apprentice.

And he continues to be in touch with the Red Cross, which aided his family in 2011 when they lost their Tennessee home in a fire, as relief efforts get under way in Oklahoma City, where a massive tornado killed at least two dozen people yesterday afternoon.

"I do have close contacts with the Red Cross people and they keep me updated and informed about what's going on...and there are more trucks and volunteers on the way," he told E! News in New York today. "Our hearts just go out to the families and people that are suffering there right now. We'll do what we can to help them out."

Asked if he had advice for those braving the aftermath in Oklahoma, Adkins said solemnly, "You will survive it. It will be a traumatic milestone in your life. My wife and I say all the time, our life together is now separated by life before the fire and life after the fire."

Before the fire, the singer said, "You take things for granted, you're just be-bopping through life, and then something like that happens to you, it really makes you more aware of what's very, very important to you and what really matters.

"The people of Oklahoma come from good stock," he added, "good, solid, strong people, solid work ethic. They've got some hard bark on them, you know, so they'll be all right."

Watch: Trace Adkins Reflects on Oklahoma Tornado

Also confident in the strength of the home team is Trisha Yearwood, who lives in Tulsa with hubby Garth Brooks.

"I was emotional this morning watching [the news]," the Georgia-born country singer told Katie Couric in an interview airing today on Katie. "I was hoping to wake up and see news saying that they've discovered survivors, and...I didn't see that this morning. So my heart is breaking."

But, she added, "Garth has always said, the people of Oklahoma are so strong. They're so amazing, they're great. And that's what's happening."

And while Yearwood says that she's hearing stories of how the injured are refusing to go to the hospital in order to leave beds open for the even more severely injured, and food trucks are lining up to feed the first responders, she can't help but feel "helpless."

She's "just prayerful," she said, "knowing that the work that maybe I can help with is coming. I don't know what that will be, but it's devastating. And to hear people say, 'We're gonna rebuild,' I just can't imagine that thought process right now because it's just so unbelievable. I grew up in the South, we had tornadoes. Tornadoes touch down, they're there for a couple of minutes, they're gone...

"I mean," Yearwood added, "it's unheard of for a tornado to be on the ground for 45 minutes and to be two miles wide. I can't fathom it. My family's safe, so I'm nothing but grateful that all my Oklahoma family is safe, but my heart just goes out to those families [affected]."

And speaking of Oklahoma strength, Los Angeles Dodgers star and Rihanna ex Matt Kemp has pledged to donate $1,000 to relief efforts per home run he hits between now and the MLB All-Star break—starting with the one he slugged during last night's win over Milwaukee.

"I'm giving $1000 for tonight's HR and every HR until the All-Star break for the victims of my hometown in OKC. #PrayforOklahoma," tweeted the Midwest City native.

Country strong, indeed.

—Reporting by Alicia Quarles