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away from tornado country,” Early said. “But we de- cided this is our home and it’s where I wanted to retire and live. So we’ve taken one step at a time, with help from a lot of people.”


Early was in the process of getting new home insur- ance after retiring from the Air Force when the tor- nado hit. With no assistance from his coverage, he turned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). After a property inspection, they established that Early’s house was demolished and provided him with the maximum amount of $31,000. “It gave us a start, something to work with,” Early


said. “We brought the money to Emmanuel Baptist Church and asked them what we could do if we all came together. Before long we’d put together a team of volunteers.”


Emmanuel Baptist Church’s team devised a build-


ing plan, which included reusing some salvageable materials from Early’s house. They were able to re- build walls, install windows and replace the roof. During this time, volunteers and donations were showing up to help from all manner of unexpected places. “We’ve had help from all over the country,” Early


said. “Volunteers came from Montana, Wisconsin, New York, New Jersey, and various churches all over. I was overwhelmed by how many people were willing to give up a Memorial Day weekend just to come and help us cleanup.” Horton and her family began their own cleanup


by gathering what they could from their home. They attempted to salvage family photos and other valu- ables with help from U.S. Air Force volunteers. A command center for tornado victims at the First Baptist Church of Moore provided them with shoes and food. Following that initial assistance, her work and her family’s insurance put them on a road to recovery. “Family, friends, co-workers and Love’s really took care of us,” Horton said. “Love’s put us up in a hotel for 10 days until we could get into a rental apartment. We had so many questions for our insurance claims adjuster; they were helpful and really looked out for us.” Their rental insurance helped get them into the


Avana 3131 apartments in southwest Oklahoma City, powered by OEC. “When we fi nally got into our apartment, we tried to get back to normal,” Horton said. “You kind of get to where you feel like you have control over your life again. And it was everyone around us that helped with that.” Horton said one event that really helped them put everything in perspective was the Healing in the Heartland relief benefit concert hosted by Blake Shelton at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. “The concert gave us something to be excited about,” Horton said. “We had an amazing time and cried through the whole thing. It really showed how many people were affected and helped us realize that, you know, we were alright.”


Home is Where the Help is For the Boydston family, rebuilding did not come


easily. They found their house was under-insured and applications to FEMA and other disaster relief orga- nizations had left them empty-handed. They were also the victims of looters, who broke into a trailer on their property and robbed them of what little they had left. “Honestly, we were close to giving up because help seemed so out of reach,” Boydston said. “We were incredibly thankful when we ran into Phil Schrok with Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) at one of the functions out here. They’ve really allowed us to get back on our feet.” CAM, based out of Berlin, Ohio, provides long- term recovery services through their Disaster Response program. Their teams cook, clean and give emotional, spiritual and physical support to those affected by disaster. CAM’s volunteers gave the Boydston family the one service they really needed, building a home. “They’ve helped us get our house back up,” Boydston said, “We’re working on the drywall now and we’ll hopefully be moving to the interior walls before long.” To help support their volunteers, the OEC


Foundation Board awarded CAM $30,000 to support living expenses and to help with building materials. The monetary award, a portion of the $291,000 en- trusted to the Foundation, was designated for tor- nado relief. Not only were these funds used to assist families in need, they went toward building materials and supplies as well. “Today, I’m happy to say we’ve got a roof over our head,” Early said. “We were missing insulation though and that’s where OEC stepped in and helped us out. They did us a great favor by providing us with the insulation, and the church helped us put it in.” With storm season back again, Early’s family is still looking to get their new home insured. They are also working to stay protected from future tornadoes. They will have a new storm shelter installed, courtesy of the Salvation Army program out of Moore. The Horton family currently lives in a rental home


in Moore. After a six-month period of deciding whether to buy or build a new home, they are in the process of building once again. “We’re moving two miles south of where our old


house was,” Horton said. “All the prayers and bless- ings we’ve received from people have helped us reach this point.”


As these families continue to recover from the dev-


astating storms, one thing remains true—Oklahomans look out for one another.


“So many different groups, from the Red Cross to a baseball team in Piedmont, have helped us through this,” Early said. “I’ll go into the house from working and come back out to fi nd someone’s dropped off some water and food. That kind of stuff is what really drives home that people are looking out for one an- other. People really do care.”


Christian Aid Ministries Disaster and Rapid Response Services


Christian Aid Ministries (CAM) is a primarily volunteer-based orga- nization centered in Berlin, Ohio. They are supported, both physically and fi nancially, by Amish and Men- nonite groups.


CAM’s Rapid Response teams


move into a community within 24 hours after a disaster strikes. They investigate damages and then bring cleanup volunteers into the area within 48 hours. Volunteers help cut up trees, install tarps on damaged roofs, and do other cleanup projects.


CAM’s Disaster Response Services


program coordinates volunteers to rebuild homes in areas of the United States affected by disasters. Hundreds of volunteers have do- nated thousands of hours serving in communities crippled by fl oods, hurricanes, fi res and tornadoes.


To help support CAM’s efforts, the


OEC Foundation awarded $30,000 to the organization. The monetary award came from the Touchstone Energy Oklahoma Disaster Relief Fund, Inc. established by the Okla- homa Association of Electric Coop- eratives to help tornado survivors in co-op service territories.


For more information on CAM visit www.christianaidministries.org or for questions about disaster relief services, call 330-893-2428.


JUNE 2014 17


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