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Groups pool efforts with Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project

Two new disaster recovery centers in Shawnee and El Reno were opened this week.
BY MATT PATTERSON mpatterson@opubco.com Modified: October 18, 2013 at 5:47 pm •  Published: October 19, 2013
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Susan Sayre can still remember the sound of softball-size hail pounding on her roof.

The May 31 storm tore up the roof of her El Reno home as she huddled in a bathroom with the family dog and her son, who has autism.

“It sounded like someone was taking a baseball bat to the roof,” she said. “When it hit the ground, it would leave divots in the yard. We waited until it was over, and it really did a job on the roof.”

Making matters worse, her insurance only covered about $3,400 of the $7,500 needed to put a new roof on her house.

“We applied with FEMA and got turned down, and I noticed in the paper they had the recovery center,” she said. “I came down and put an application in, and they said it would take a long time, but it really didn't.”

Sayre was on hand for the opening of The Oklahoma Disaster Recovery Project's new office in El Reno. The project is a collaborative effort between the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the Oklahoma United Methodist Church.

Kami Kuykendall, human resources director for the Red Cross of Central Oklahoma, said the goal is to provide assistance to victims who are underinsured, uninsured or lack the funds to make storm damage repairs.

“We've come together to form one team that will provide standardized case management services for those impacted by the May 31 storm here in El Reno,” she said. “Our job as case manager is to connect those who need assistance with the resources that can help them. Going through a disaster is overwhelming and we realize the process of reaching out for help is daunting in itself.”

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