Dan Bewley, News On 6
CLEVELAND, Oklahoma -- Victims of the wildfire in Terlton have another place to turn for help. The Cleveland Chamber of Commerce has raised $17,000 to give to area residents.
More than 35 homes were destroyed during the wildfire that raged through Terlton last month. Many of those people do not have insurance, so businesses in Cleveland have raised some money and are offering a helping hand.
Harold Lazear is one of more than three dozen Terlton residents whose homes were burned to the ground in August.
"A lot of people out here they don't have insurance, they're just poor folks that live paycheck to paycheck most of the time," Lazear said.
Lazear has been living with his brother or just wherever he can find a place to stay. He says it's been very difficult as he tries to get back on his feet.
"I didn't have any insurance at all and I should of, but I didn't. I hope to have someplace to call my own again," he said.
But now businesses in Cleveland are reaching out to help. The chamber of commerce has raised $17,000 for people like Lazear.
"We as a community want to let them know that they don't have to go through this by themselves, we're here to stand with them and walk through this difficult time," said Terry Dennis, Cleveland Chamber of Commerce Member.
The chamber says it's not giving the money to just anybody, the people have to prove they're in need of it first and they've been interviewing fire victims for the last week. They say by the time it's all said and done they expect to help about 15 families.
Lazear says his first order of business is to find a place to live. He's been amazed by all of the generosity and hopes the neighborly help is the first step to getting back to a normal life.
"To everybody that really helped, there's a lot of people out there, a lot of good people that reach out to people like myself and all these others and all I can say is God bless them," Lazear said.
The chamber plans to start giving out the money this Thursday. They say they're still taking donations; anyone wishing to help should contact the American Heritage Bank in Cleveland.
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