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The Shawnee News-Star
  • Shawnee man donates vehicle to family who lost home, cars to tornado

  • When Dennis Hix and his family emerged from a cellar on their property in Steelman Estates, they found their home and cars destroyed. As they start their lives over, a Shawnee businessman has donated an SUV to the family, which they loaded up and put to good use Wednesday while moving into a new home.
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    When Dennis Hix and his family emerged from a cellar on their property in Steelman Estates, they found their home and cars destroyed. As they start their lives over, a Shawnee businessman has donated an SUV to the family, which they loaded up and put to good use Wednesday while moving into a new home.
    “We were truly blessed,” Hix said about receiving the 1997 Ford Expedition from William Pierce, as the vehicle also was filled up with goods and supplies for the family.
    “It was a true blessing for us — there’s no way we could every repay him for that kind of loving, caring and kindness,” Hix said. “I can’t put it into words.”
    Hix and his wife, Kristi, and four children, rode out the storm in their cellar in Steelman Estates, a mobile home park on SH 102 in the Bethel area. The addition, where one man also died, took a direct hit and was leveled by the May 19 storm.
    As they took shelter underground, “I looked up and saw debris — I shut the cellar door,” Hix said.
    “In a matter of seconds, it sounded like a freight train,” Hix added, knowing that the twister “went right over the top of us.”
    When the skies calmed, the family emerged from the shelter to see what he could only describe as “mass destruction.”
    With no home and no vehicles to drive, the family was safe but had lost everything.
    Hix said his employer, a well service company, put him and his family in a hotel and also provided them a truck to drive, but the blessing of Pierce’s SUV, which will easily accommodate a family of six, was much needed.
    The family received a second blessing by quickly finding a home to rent and began the process of moving in on Wednesday.
    While their home was leveled, Hix said they managed to dig through the debris to salvage some belongings and even some precious treasures.
    “We were able to save some pictures,” he said.
    Hix said the outpouring of support from friends, his co-workers, neighbors, and complete strangers who came to help them clean up and search for belongings in the rubble has been overwhelming.
    “People were coming out of the woodwork to help,” Hix said, adding those volunteers were from all over the U.S., from as far away as Wisconsin and as close as Texas.
    “They all just walked up like they knew us and started working,” Hix said. “It’s just amazing how everyone came together.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Hix said there’s been so many people helping him and his family so he wants to say, “Thank you for the awesome job — there’s no way to thank everyone properly.”
    And while Hix is thankful for the safety of his family, seeing all the destruction and figuring out what to do to start over has been and will continue to be a journey they face together.
    “Reality still hasn’t set in,” Hix said.
    Pierce, who said he loves Shawnee and wants to help any way he can, owns a martial arts business that has collected and delivered many donations and supplies for the tornado relief efforts.
    He said he knew the Hix family could use the SUV, an extra vehicle that his family drove occasionally, more than he could.
    Along with the vehicle, Pierce’s business has been a collection site where many truckloads of goods have been gathered and distributed to those in need.
    Pierce also said his Demian Maia Jiu Jitsu affiliates from around the U.S. have been sending relief supplies to help Oklahomans affected by the tornadoes.
     
     
     
     
     
     
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