Tragedies Compound For Cleveland County Couple
CLEVELAND COUNTY, Oklahoma - A wildfire victim in Cleveland County is having an especially tough time dealing with the aftermath of the wildfires. He was in the hospital when the flames swept through his neighborhood and when he's released, he'll have to start all over.
To say it's been a rough year on James Ray would be putting it lightly. On the one year anniversary of a motorcycle accident that paralyzed him from the chest down, his home burned in the wildfires.
"Pretty much devastated losing the house and losing everything we had," Ray said.
Ray lies in a hospital bed recovering from a motorcycle wreck that left him paralyzed, but when he finally gets out, he will not be able to go home.
"I don't know, I'm trying to get a house before I get out of here in four to six week," said Ray.
When asked what keeps him going, Ray said it was his fiancée. He met Dottie in high school. She is trying to keep it all together now.
"He's been through so much with the wreck and he's been in the hospital for seven months and having so many things go wrong," said Dottie.
There's not much left of the home the couple was leasing. Now they're hoping to buy again soon.
"It had a lot of meaning to us, and losing that last Saturday, there are no words. We haven't even had time to cycle through everything," said Dottie.
Dottie is just now telling Ray about the engagement ring.
"My ring was in the house, but we got out," said Dottie. "We don't need a ring. We know what we are."
Dottie is grateful for friends who've stepped up to help, but they're pretty much on their own.
"What else do we have to do, we gotta get through it and get it done," said Ray.
The fire displaced three of their horses and several cats. Friends and family have set up a fundraiser for James in Norman on August 27.
The Community Canvas and Donation Drive will be held at the Jubilee Tree Painting night at Othello's in 434 Buchanan Ave. in Norman on August 27. Feel free to come out and show your support with community painting and donation drive even if you are not painting with the class.
Sign up at tipsyartist.com or call (405) 822-0481. The Community Canvas is free and requires no purchase. You can also participate in the wine and painting party that will be held in his honor ($25 online, or $35 at the door). Everyone that wants to participate will take home a painting they have completed under the "The Tipsy Artist" Tiffany Bohrer
There will be live music on the piano while you paint. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.