Soldiers Angels is on the job and will be establishing funds to support Ft. Rucker soldiers and families.
On March 1, 2007 a band of severe thunderstorms swept across the South. The storms were accompanied by tornadoes which left a swath of destruction in their wake. The agricultural town of Enterprise, Alabama was hit especially hard. The town newspaper, The Enterprise Ledger, reports, " The tornado struck downtown Enterprise around 1 p.m. Thursday, destroying homes, flipping vehicles and collapsing the ceiling and walls in parts of Enterprise High School. Reports concerning the number of dead and injured vary wildly, with state officials reporting as many as 5 possible deaths in the city." Its high school sustained a direct hit and many students were injured when a wall collapsed. Several of the injured students are from families stationed at nearby Fort Rucker. There are reports of deaths among the students, but the school system has yet to provide confirmation of this tragic news. Fort Rucker is the home of the United States Army Aviation Warfighting Center and many of its families live in Enterprise and their children attend its schools. The governor of Alabama has declared a state of emergency, but in a situation like this, with so many people in need, the government cannot immediately help everyone. Soldiers' Angels is determined to make sure that none of our military personnel or their families are overlooked.
Soldiers' Angels has several members who are in the area and they have rallied to provide aid and comfort to the military families who are suffering. Additionally, in an effort to help these families, Soldiers' Angels has established the Fort Rucker Military Family Relief Fund. This fund is dedicated specifically to helping the members of the Fort Rucker who have lost family and their homes as a result of this terrible event. Soldiers' Angels will use the fund to provide emergency relief to the families. Items such as clothes, food, personal items and even shelter will be provided. Please help the families and our soldiers at Fort Rucker.
How can you help?
To volunteer time please contact Bonnie- BonnieInBama @ gmail.com
FT RUCKER FAMILY RELIEF FUND
Donations through PayPal (SA-FT. RUCKER FAMILY RELIEF - Item #20-0583415)
or send GIFT CARDS: WalMart, Amex CREDITS OR VOUCHERS: Holiday Inn, Days Inn, Comfort Inn to:
ARMY COMMUNITY SERVICE, Attn: Sue
NOVOSEL, ROOM 390
FT. RUCKER AL 36362
This post stays towards the top for a while...
UPDATE 3/3: If you need to get an idea of just how bad the damage is, NOTR has pictures posted here.
UPDATE 3/4: Fort Benning families have also been affected by the devastating storms:
I am writing on behalf of the military tornado victims of Thursday night's storm in Columbus, GA beside Fort Benning. The housing shortages and inadequate housing at Fort Benning causes many military families to look off base for housing. While the base did not receive much damage in this recent storm, many houses of military families off base were impacted.
These families are in desperate need of help and are falling between the cracks in the system. Inexplicably, they are not receiving requested help from the Red Cross, Military One Source, or United Way. Each of these organizations has suggested calling one of the others.
The Army has a relief organization, Army Emergency Relief (funded by the Red Cross) and families are being directed there, but funds dispersed by AER for tornado relief are a loan, not a grant. These families cannot afford to pay back the loan. AER has the ability to give grants, but is not doing so for this situation. One of the families affected is a soldier and a single mother. Her roof was completely blown off of her house. Army Emergency Relief told her none of the money being given to families for tornado relief will be in the form of a grant.
FEMA has also denied any help citing that this area was not labeled a disaster area. They should see the pictures.
These families are experiencing a lot of stress and possible mild shock and are having to pay nightly for meals and hotels as insurance companies decide what they are entitled to and as that stretches out, the immediate expenses they are not being helped with is putting them in a dire financial situation. The insurance companies are assessing paying for repairs and loss of possessions, but are not paying for the hotel rooms or meal expense. These families live paycheck to paycheck and this setback could be devastating.
I know of one street in particular, Cardinal Landing, Columbus, GA, where at least three military families have houses now unlivable and need help.
My great friends, Tony and Vicki D---- have three small children and the storm has left them homeless. They were in a lease renting a house managed by a real estate company. The real estate company did not put them into a hotel. They had to pay for it themselves. The Red Cross, through Army Emergency Relief, gave them a $1000 loan. Because the house they rented is now unlivable and needs major repair, they have asked the realtor if they are now free to just look for another house to live in. Day after day the realtor says she does not know and has no answer for them. They cannot afford to keep paying for a hotel night after night. And the whole family of five in a hotel room is not pleasant.
Many of the families on their street had just stocked the fridge and freezer and had no disposable income to pay for hotel and food in their checking account. And, of course, the storm damage and loss of power spoiled all the food they had just bought. Eating out every day is quickly depleting funds. And, the D----- family took the loan they received and immediately began feeding other families from the street with no money for food.
The D---- family had just moved into their house a few months ago when the Army relocated them from Fort Dix, NJ to Fort Benning, GA. They have a lot of unreimbursed expenses from the move. They were already barely surviving financially as the recouped from the move expense and now have this stress on top of that.
Please help me find help for these families for immediate relief and money to help pay back the Red Cross loans.
ADDITIONAL UPDATE 3/4: Be sure to check the commments for additional perspective / assistance suggestions. Americanmilitaryfamilies.org is also on the case and helping these families. Although I don't know them personally, Terri (see comments) does and can vouch for them. However you choose to help, please do so!