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Oklahoma Red Cross Awards $48,000 Grant to Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity

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This new storm shelter means everything to us

The American Red Cross awards a grant to the Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity for $48,000 for the installation of twenty storm shelters in newly built homes in communities affected by the 2013 spring storms.

The Red Cross grant covers the purchase and installation of storm shelters meeting FEMA specifications.

Louis and Cindy Henderson are one of the recipients of the new storm shelters. They had moved into their Moore, Oklahoma home just 19 months before the May 20th, 2013 tornado. As a retired couple they anticipated this would be the last time they would purchase a home and they were settling in. When the tornado hit and leveled their house, they did not own a storm shelter and rode it out in a neighbor’s underground shelter. They emerged to nothing but rubble, with Cindy’s holding her purse in one hand and a garage door opener in the other.

“You could just hear it grinding and tearing the whole house apart and we didn’t know if we were going to make it or not even underground,” said Louis Henderson. “So this new storm shelter means everything to us and I use to be the last one to go to the shelter but now I’m the first one to get in there after that experience.”

They have since rebuilt through Habitat for Humanity and due to the partnership with Red Cross, the Henderson’s now have a storm shelter in the backyard.

“This partnership between the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity affirms the goals of both agencies to help individuals and communities as a whole be more resilient in the face of future disasters,” said Central and Western Oklahoma regional CEO Janienne Bella. “This is one more way we can get people prepared and this collaboration will no doubt be a model for the rest of the country.”

The grant covers Habitat homes built for storm affected individuals and families from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2015. The two year program will assist twenty of families who were uninsured and/or underinsured during last year’s storms.

“We are grateful to the American Red Cross for providing these storm shelters to ensure the safety of our families for future years, said Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity CEO Ann Felton. “We look forward to working with them over the next two years as we continue to build for families affected by these devastating storms.”

Other locations of Habitat homes being built with storm shelters are Bethel Acres, Carney, Blanchard, Faith Landing near Mustang and in Moore, Oklahoma.