|
|
|
The Shawnee News-Star
  • Shawnee family treasures wall of volunteer signatures

  • The Lowrey family has very little left of what was their home, but standing solid is a wall now covered with signatures of volunteers from around the United States.
    • email print
      Comment
  • The Lowrey family has very little left of what was their home, but standing solid is a wall now covered with signatures of volunteers from around the United States.
     
    The family was out celebrating the upcoming graduation of their son, Jon, 18, from Bethel High School when the May 19 tornado ripped through their property, structurally damaging their home.
     
    Bridget Lowrey, who works for the post office in Shawnee, said she and her family were at Van’s when she got the warning on her phone that the tornado was headed straight for their home.
     
    After the storms had passed, she said they headed for their house, but were stopped by firefighters who told her they couldn’t go any further due to downed power lines. Once the family was able to reach their home, Bridget said the daughter of a coworker approached her to let her know her that after going to their home to check on them, she saw the house had been damaged.
     
    “I feel really fortunate that we got to salvage things from our home,” Bridget said.
     
    The family lost both barns, along with structural damage to their house, which included the loss of their roof. She said after the roof was ripped away, trees and debris busted through the windows and knocked down some walls.
     
    “It just looks like a war zone when you walk up on it,” she said.
     
    Bridget said her first thought was ‘where are the cattle’. The area where the cattle were when they left the house for dinner that night was filled with down trees and debris and the cattle were in another area. Bridget said she was happy to find out that all the cattle, including a three-week-old heifer survived.
     
    “It was like it picked up the cattle and just moved them all,” she said.
     
    Along with the two barns, the family also lost all their fencing and their small dog, Betsy, who they had for four years. Bridget said some volunteers trimming down trees found the dog a couple of days after the tornado hit. The family’s Labrador and chickens survived.
     
    The family, except Bridget’s husband Kirk, left their home to stay the night elsewhere, but Bridget said Kirk wanted to stay to keep looters away from their house. She said after they cleared everything out, they went to look for a place to live. Their neighbor is letting them stay in their travel trailer, she said.
     
    Bridget and Kirk’s daughter Allison, 10, suggested that people who come to help should sign one of their standing walls. Their son, Jacob, 13, added some artwork to the wall like hearts and pigs, Bridget said. The wall has signatures from people all over the United States, including groups from Washington, Kansas and Illinois.
    Page 2 of 2 -  
    Bridget said one day she was cleaning out Allison’s room and her sister came in and told her Bob Stoops was at her back door. She said at first she didn’t believe her, saying she didn’t have time, but when she went to the door he was standing there with two University of Oklahoma wrestlers. Stoops gave her family three gift cards, which she said they have put to good use.
     
    “I believe God sent all these people,” she said.
     
    The family has received help from the Red Cross and some of the area churches including Emmanuel and Lakeview, Bridget said, along with complete strangers. She said the insurance company has been amazing, but the house has sustained too much structural damage and will have to be bulldozed. They plan to rebuild, starting with a barn. The family plans to live in the barn while their house is being built, Bridget said, so the kids can continue to go to their school.
     
    Bridget said the family would love to keep the wall, but doesn’t think it’s a possibility, so they are taking lots of pictures.
     
    “The love of everybody is just amazing,” she said.
     
    Bridget said someone wrote Romans 8:28 on the wall, which reads: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose. She said that is what helps her get through everything with a positive attitude.
     

        calendar