El Reno Marine, Family Get Help From Alabama Comrades
EL RENO, Oklahoma - A veteran Marine's home was destroyed in that record breaking tornado on May 31 in El Reno. That included the family farm, but Saturday, fellow Marines from hundreds of miles away showed up to help out.
It was like Christmas Day for the Dowers family. A group of Marines traveled 11 hours from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to drop of loads of donations. The family was showered with clothing, toys, gift cards and food for their farm animals.
Two weeks ago, the tornado tore through the family's farm and split their house. They lost several chickens, their roof, and each room is covered in insulation. The Marines from Alabama experienced the same devastation before and felt compelled to give back.
"My wife and I you know lost our house two years ago in Tuscaloosa," said Gunnery Sgt. Ryan Leach of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. "And the thing that got us through after the storm was the support and the concern we received from Marines around the country."
A former Marine from Yukon Michael Carmack arranged for the Alabama group to come to El Reno.
"I love these friends and I want to do what it takes to help see them through this," Carmack said. "It's summed up in these words ‘esprit de corps' that's what drives the corps, that working together in the spirit."
The family says they were overwhelmed with the outpouring of support they received from the former tornado victims.
"It's a blessing, God uses his people, the marines, they call themselves brothers and they mean that," said Janesssa Dowers, tornado victim.
Even her husband Steve Dowers' decorated Marine uniform that was covered in dirt and debris was cleaned and restored and returned to him.
"It was so beat up, I didn't know if I'd ever see it like it was before," Dowers said. "The help is tremendous from all the Marines, and to see what they've gone through and hear how they've gotten to where they are, it's encouraging to us."
The Dowers family's insurance company is paying for them to stay in a rent house for a year. They plan to rebuild on their farm in El Reno on Evans Road.
The Marines from Tuscaloosa are a part of the Mike Spann Detachment Marine Corps League. They also helped out five other families in El Reno and donated to storm victims staying in shelters. They head back to Alabama Sunday.