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ORU Special Report T


HE SOUND of an airplane overhead creates anxiety for Lorraine Bostwick. It takes her back to May 19, 2013,


huddled under a twin mattress in a hallway in the center of her home with her husband, Frank. It’s where they rode out the tornado that ripped through Newalla and Little Axe and turned their lives upside down.


“Some people say it sounds like


a freight train, but it sounded like a jet engine to me,” Lorraine said. “I didn’t think we had a prayer. I didn’t think we’d survive.” T ankfully, they did. After being rescued from the debris,


the couple, both of whom are handicapped and retired, was left with “a shell of a home and very few belongings.” T ey quickly learned they were considerably under-insured, ineligible for federal aid, and without adequate funds to rebuild. “A loan wasn’t an option because we couldn’t aff ord another payment and neither of us can work to make up the extra income. If we were younger and healthier, it might be easier to bounce back. It turned our life upside down,” Lorraine recalled. Hope, she said, came from


strangers. “If Christian Aid Ministries hadn’t heard our story


Cheryl Troyer, pauses for only a moment while on location in Little Axe in front of a home being rebuilt by Christian Aid Ministries. Troyer, of Berlin, Ohio, has been on location since fall 2013.


Patti Rogers


Christian Aid Ministries Bringing the community back home


when we were registering with FEMA, I don’t know where we would be today.” Christian Aid Ministries


(CAM), headquartered in Berlin, Ohio, has seasoned rapid response teams that move into disaster- stricken areas within 24 hours to assess the magnitude of damage and pave the way for its volunteers to help with clean-up. After initial clean-up and when situations warrant, it sends in a long-term recovery team that works closely with other aid organizations, such as the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and area churches, to help survivors recover. Cheryl Troyer, one of the few


CAM staff ers and whose title of secretary doesn’t begin to cover all she handles, moved into the area last fall to set-up base in Little Axe and prepare for an army of volunteers from across the U.S. and into Canada who were dedicated to helping the Bostwicks and other tornado survivors rebuild their lives. Troyer said most of CAM’s


support—both physical and fi nancial—comes from Amish and Mennonite groups. “Aside from management, supervisory personnel and bookkeeping operations, we’re an all-volunteer organization. Less than 2 percent of donations go toward overhead,” she said. T e OEC Foundation Board in March awarded $30,000 to CAM to help pay for living expenses—food and gasoline—for the volunteers and


12 www.okcoop.org May 2014


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