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Caught up in ‘˜tornado hell aftermath’

By Cathy Batchelor I think we’re caught up in a Tornado Hell aftermath and can’t get out of it. Normally you won’t hear me complain but I’ve had my limit. The tornado took my house away. My insurance gave us a check for the mortgage. We did what the mortgage company, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, told us to do and they still haven’t paid off the mortgage. They’ve had it in their hands since May 10. We can’t even start to rebuild until we have a clear deed for the next mortgage. Amazingly, it’s acceptable to roll us in the dirt a little more every day. I’ve had so many brick walls thrown up in my face I shouldn’t have any teeth left. If it hadn’t been for friends, family and churches we couldn’t have made it. FEMA hasn’t helped; somebody tell me why we have them? They spend more time telling me I’m denied because I had insurance and insurance doesn’t cover eight acres of trees laid down on your property. Insurance doesn’t cover bulldozing. Doesn’t anyone understand we lost it all? My income is too high even though I have nothing at all to show for it. Everything was blown away. Why does it magically seem money must be flowing from somewhere to survive? I know they won’t pay for anything your insurance will pay for but will they pay for anything at all if you had insurance? FEMA says they can’t do anything until my mortgage is paid. Why? They had renters who didn’t own homes they helped with rental assistance. Since I have a mortgage I have to pay it off and have a letter of denial from my insurance company before I can be considered for rental assistance or help with the cost of chainsaws. We couldn’t get help because we were buying our home. We lost our house and all our belongings. At what time would you think someone would need help? Would it be then or three or four months down the road? Before they’ll help with chainsaws, I have to have papers from the mortgage company saying my mortgage is clear. Everything hinges on getting that piece of paper the mortgage company doesn’t care about sending me anytime soon. I assumed when I overnighted the paperwork and check to them so they’d have it May 10 it would all be handled quickly like at our local bank. Nope. They put it in escrow and acted like we never told them anything. I didn’t send the May payment in (they now owe me) so they graciously sent us intent to foreclose papers for being late 30 days. I had to call an attorney. My husband paid May and June so we wouldn’t be in foreclosure and we still haven’t heard from them. They told me it’d be in July sometime before they settled with us: 30 days from June 1 and then an additional 10 days for overages to be paid. That means I won’t be able to even think about building until late July. FEMA called me the other day to tell me they still didn’t have the paperwork from the mortgage company and then went over our request. Now this is FEMA, they go to disasters. He asked me why we got a generator. I said well, there was this tornado that came through Barnesville on April 28 about 1 a.m. It took out our house and we had no electricity and we had to use power tools to try and secure the site. Then he said, why did you get a chainsaw? I said there was this tornado that came through Barnesville on April 28 about 1 a.m. and it took out our house and we had eight acres of trees laid out on our property, house, yard and driveway, roadway. We had to move them. Then he asked, why do you need replacement for eyeglasses? I said there was this tornado that came through Barnesville on April 28 about 1 a.m. and we woke up our granddaughter at 12:55 a.m. and she didn’t grab her glasses when she came out of the bed while trying to take cover to keep from dying from the tornado and the tornado blew our house away and her glasses were in it. All of these brick walls are getting very tiresome. I’m mentally exhausted. There are numerous forms to sign and fill out. Be careful what you sign even for the FEMA or Small Business Administration. There are a few things in print you really need to read. No one seems to be able to say yes to anything. Is there no end to this Tornado Hell? My attorney is mailing a letter to JPMorgan Chase Bank to see if he can get them to move and pay off the mortgage with the money sitting there since May 10. I also faxed the letter to all the fax machines they’ve had me send faxes to as well. I know our family isn’t the only one in this situation. We need for our voices to be heard: We’re tired and the runaround has to stop ‘“ and stop now. I don’t even like to go back to the property with all the crap we have to go through to get anything done. DFACs put an article in our local paper that they were opening up their office to tornado victims for a few days to come in and apply. Then I read a little farther down the article. You still had to meet income guidelines. Well, I had no house, I was homeless, everything I’d worked for all my life was gone. All I had was my land that lost value with all the trees down on it. It’d cost me more to remove the trees than the land would be worth with the trees on it. My husband and I lost time from work and all our belongings, food, freezer. The time we needed help was right then. Guess what, we still wouldn’t qualify for help because of our pay scale, even though it all just went out the door. The people on the other end of that phone don’t care. They really don’t care. It hasn’t happened to them yet. They don’t know of the long hours of cleaning up and going through the rubble. Being too exhausted to sleep and you can hardly put one foot in front of the other. I can no longer think straight because I’m so overwhelmed. The only way I can describe it is, I’m in mourning and the pain is deep. Only those who are going through this know what I’m talking about. I know God will see me through it. I couldn’t have made it this far if he weren’t there to hold me in his hands. I wish others didn’t feel the need to kick and roll us around in the dirt again and again and again. This system of how we’re treated needs to be stopped. I can’t get any help because I’ve worked and paid for insurance on my home. You can’t always have access to your insurance money when you need it. The mortgage company will hold it hostage and keep getting interest on our payments as well as the interest on the check from the insurance company. This looks like double-dipping from where I’m sitting. We’ve worked hard to put a roof over our heads, food on the table and hold a job. All the while we paid taxes to our federal government. Now that I need their help, because I’ve worked all my life I don’t qualify financially. Why am I being punished for living a responsible life? Is this what they call the American Dream? This is more like the nightmare from hell. When will it end? We aren’t the only people this is happening to. You need to speak out. Call your congressmen and state representative. I even contacted Channel 5 Fox News. I’m tired of being silent. You should be too.

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