By Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau
MOORE, Oklahoma – Just down the street from the Plaza Towers Elementary School where seven children died in Monday’s tornado, a Filipina’s house once stood.
With the door blown down, the 2-storey house where Lorna Dillon and her family lived for the past 12 years is now a pile of rubble with only the fireplace left.
Dillon declined to be interviewed on camera but told ABS-CBN News that she and her family were doing fine.
“I believe that everything is under God’s control. It might not be good for us, for everybody who has lost their house, but I know the plan is not for the worst. It’s for the better,” she said.
Dillon’s husband John and his friends helped clean up on Thursday, the first full day that residents were allowed to return to their tornado-ravaged neighborhood.
Children reunited with their toys as volunteers dug through the rubble helping strangers.
Dillon, originally from San Carlos City in Negros Occidental, is a stay-at home mom and home schools their nine-year-old son.
Along with husband John, a civilian employee for the US Air Force, they left their house 20 minutes before the tornado struck, taking with them insurance papers, passports, and other important documents.
They were able to return home after the neighborhood lockdown was lifted.
“Hooray! I found my wedding gown and I found my diploma and that’s a blessing too! I thought I lost it. And family pictures, baby pictures of Kendrick, my son, and a few pictures of my family wedding in the Philippines and here in Oklahoma, I have a lot of pictures and I was able to recover all of them,” Dillon said.
Their home has survived at least two other tornadoes but Monday’s devastating twister has the family considering a move to a less vulnerable area.
“This time, I can’t compare it because it’s so horrific in this area it’s so wide spread that this looks like an atomic bomb went off in here,” said her husband.
“I think we’ll live here in Oklahoma but not here in Moore because I think Moore is a tornado magnet,” she added.
In the meantime, Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin has reached out to the Filipino community, asking what kind of assistance they need.
The Governor has had close ties to the community since former ambassador Willie Gaa met with her a few years ago.
“Different parts of government have been interested in the Filipino community. As a matter of fact, the office of Oklahoma Governor
Mary Fallin has reached out calling me, asking how we are as a group. Also, the consul general has been calling us too. They wanted to know how the Filipino community was doing. As a resident of Oklahoma, we have been trying to reach out to each other,” said
Filipino community member, Marcy Tolentino.
As of now, there are at least two other Filipino families believed to live near the Dillons and have been displaced. But in many
cases, like the Dillons, insurance companies will pay for their hotel stay for the next few months as well as their new home.