Volunteers are helping Oklahoma families who lost their homes in the May 2013 tornado outbreak. For one family targeted by scammers in the past, having a credible name like Lowe's back the project is a relief.
The bitter cold and howling wind could not stop the Oklahoma standard on Wednesday.
“They're troopers. I mean, I'm glad they're here,” said tornado victim Pam Lupo. “Like they told me, they said, ‘We're Oklahoma people, we're going to show up.'”
Lupo and her family have been waiting for this help for a year and a half. A tornado on May 19, 2013, destroyed her daughter's home and badly damaged her own.
“It's been long, it's a long journey,” said Lupo. “I've had a lot of people, a lot of help come through, just the cleanup alone and it's still going on. It's going to be an ongoing process for quite a while.”
Lupo still has tarps on her home from 18 months ago, but her daughter's family had to move in with her until they could replace the daughter's home. Now that the daughter's new home is in place, volunteers are putting on the skirting and upgrading everything else.
“It's great to see the expression on their face,” said O.J. Price, the store manager at Lowe's in Shawnee. “I know they are very appreciative of it. It's always sort of a blessing on our part to be able to do that and reach out, to get out of the store and actually help these families get their lives back together.”
Fifteen Lowe's volunteers from the Shawnee store and Rebuilding Together OKC teamed up with the Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project to repair, remove debris and make critical renovations.
“It's wonderful, wonderful,” Lupo explained. “We've had so many volunteers from all over and I'm still Facebook friends with a lot of people who have come through.”
Lupo's daughter's home is one of five homes in this particular tornado rebuilding project that should be finished sometime this month. The other homes are in Moore, Shawnee and Newalla. The work is done at no cost to the families thanks to a $150,000 grant from Lowe's.