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Cleveland County woman gets a new home one year after tornado

In the spring of 2023, Elizabeth Shockey’s mobile home was hit by a tornado and moved off its foundation. The damage was so extensive that it had to be demolished and rebuilt.

On Thursday, a group of nonprofits presented her with the keys to her new home.

“I always try to never ask for anything,” Shockey said. “And the Lord has blessed me.”

Recovering Oklahomans After Disaster, Cargill, Mennonite Disaster Service, Oklahoma Ceiling Systems & Drywall, B&H Construction, City Serve Oklahoma and Catholic Charities of Oklahoma all helped with the labor or materials needed to build the new home.

“It’s an ongoing need,” said Chad Detwiler, president of Recovering Oklahomans After Disaster. Detwiler coordinates volunteers for the coalition of Oklahoma disaster disaster nonprofits known as VOAD. “In many cases where we’ve seen the devastation of the tornadoes, we’ll have these types of opportunities to build a new home,” Detwiler said.

Detwiler predicts this year’s tornadoes will create the greatest need for home repairs and remodels in the past decade. Those recovering from the late April to early May storms are still estimated to be in the mop-up phase of recovery, but he said the exact needs will become clearer after the summer.

But without more volunteers, Detwiler says the amount of work could pile up.

“When everyone comes together like they did for this family, that’s when you really see true love and unity take place,” he said. “And at the Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, the OK VOAD, all of these organizations and agencies come together to discuss what the needs are, and then who has the availability to help lead that cause.”

Shockey said she is blessed that VOAD organizations were able to help her.

“I want to express my appreciation for everything they did and took the time for me,” she said.

More information about disaster recovery efforts in Oklahoma can be found at https://okvoad.org/.

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