Fil-Am tornado victim says community help keeps him strong, hopeful

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – Three tornadoes ripped through the Dallas area last weekend, killing 11 people and destroying hundreds of structures.

For Jojo Palomar and his loved-ones, it was a night they would never forget. This Pinoy based in Rowlett, Texas recounted, “The front door flew open and all this wind, they start flying into the house. We later found some shingles from a roof that was in the house. I saw that the picture frames off the wall started smashing against another wall. The whole ordeal felt like it lasted a long time. You lose track of time because of so many things going on.”

There were ten of them in Palomar’s house that night — three adults, seven kids plus three dogs. When the tornado hit, all of them scrambled to get inside one tiny bathroom. All of them, except one puppy made it in time — their beloved five-month old Rhodesian Ridgeback, Gussy Bear.

He expressed, “It’s devastating. You think about it and at any time, it could have been worse. It could have been your own child. You look around and you feel blessed that your faith is strong and how our heavenly father has protected us.”

Palomar said they’re praying their puppy is still alive and that they’re still looking for him in shelters and through social media.

The tornado that hit Palomar’s neighborhood was so strong, it wrecked portions of his house and even carried his heavy 40 steel gate three houses away. One of the posts from his neighbor’s house even pierced through his bedroom wall, a few feet away from the bathroom where they were hiding.

Palomar is grateful no one in his household was hurt. But he said they are all traumatized.

He said, “As in any traumatic event, whether there are lives lost, it’s just realizing that you’ve lost everything you’ve known, everything you know is your future.”

Through all of their ordeal, Palomar said the community has come together to help, whether through donations or through services. Even other came to him, asking if there’s anything they can to do help. This is what keeps him hopeful they can survive this.

He concluded, “The community is very grateful for everybody continuing to give their efforts and support in helping us rebuild.”

You may contact Henni Espinosa at henni_espinosa@abs-cbn.com for more information.

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