Ardmore woman takes action after Texoma drownings

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - It was at the Ski Jump campground at Lake Murray where a four-year-old boy went under the water and was later pronounced dead at the hospital on Saturday.

He was number four of five during the Fourth of July holiday week and all five victims were not wearing a life jacket.

Jodie Perry of Ardmore said that's five too many.

"And it's getting to the point where it's ridiculous," Perry said. "We're having so many babies getting buried over people not, just simply, putting a life device on them."

Perry says she has been inspired to act after hearing about the most recent drownings in Texoma.

She is asking for donations of life jackets to give to people who cannot afford them, in an effort to prevent more tragedies.

"That's awful on everybody," Perry said. "It doesn't (just) affect parents. It affects families. It affects nieces, nephews, cousins. It affects the whole community."

Perry said she knows what it's like to lose a family member.

Her nephew drowned four years ago.

"He'd be eight this year," she said. "He drowned in the bottom of a pool with no floatie. They looked. They looked. They looked and he floated up from the pool four hours later but he didn't have a life vest on. He had nothing on."

She said she has collected more than 500 life jackets from local businesses and has already given out 50 to families and groups in need.

Cali Clouds in Ardmore donated more than 250 life jackets.

"It feels great to not have to deal with having to bury somebody versus saving somebody," Erika Santiago, an employee, said.

Perry said she will be collecting life jackets or cash donations to buy life jackets until Friday.

There will also be drop offs at both Ardmore Sonic locations.

Anyone in need of a life jacket can contact Jodie using Facebook with the number and sizes needed.

"If you all need them, please, come get them," she said. "We'd rather you all have them and your kids not drown or adults that can't swim not drown than having to see them in the obituary or on the paper the next day."