Local Tornado Victims Say They Have Been Forgotten

Tuesday, September 21st 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Some local tornado victims believe they are the forgotten victims. Many say they are still waiting for assistance of any kind. And they say they'd like to see some of the same help that was given to the victims in Oklahoma City.

In June, a tornado ripped through a neighborhood across the road from Sequoyah State Park in Cherokee County. Two people died and nearly 30 homes were destroyed or badly damaged. According to neighbors, government officials told them they didn't qualify for federal aid because there wasn't enough damage.

Al and Denise Lowery desperately want some help in receiving a low interest loan. They have insurance but say it's not enough to help them finish the cleanup and rebuild their retirement home. "I thought it would be no problem to get a loan and rebuild back," said Lowery. "Then we were just pushed aside and forgotten about. "

Several of their neighbors are facing similar problems. "Just because we are a little community here, we were left out in the cold and I feel that is wrong," said tornado victim Debbie Kirksey.

The county emergency management director thinks if there would have been no tornadoes in Oklahoma City a month earlier, the people here wouldn't feel slighted. The neighbors agree, saying debris still laying around would have been cleaned up." Lieutenant Governor Mary Fallin sent her chief of staff, Richard Tate, to listen to complaints and frustrations Monday night. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't think something could come out of it," commented Tate.

Tornado victims don't expect much, but say it's nice to have someone at least saying that they'll fight for them. Fallin says she will be meeting with her chief of staff Tuesday morning to find possible ways the state can help.