“We knew one thing for sure, this would not break us and we will have a stronger marriage than ever. I am Alfredo’s rock and he is mine. Besides, our three babies were safe and are still by our side.”
The night after Christmas I was sitting in my loft reading a book and listening to the storm outside. I knew there was supposed to be some bad weather coming towards Dallas and there would more than likely be some tornadic activity but when the tornado sirens started going off I decided I better go downstairs and see what was going on. Right then I got a notification to take shelter immediately. This lasted for an hour. A tornado was coming straight for downtown Dallas. I took shelter downstairs in the clubhouse with my neighbors and we watched the news. Everything had shifted and it was headed the other way. Then a few minutes later we were watching video footage of a massive tornado that had touched down just 20 minutes from us in Rowlett, TX. The next day we found out that so many people had lost their homes, pets and some had lost their lives. From what we could see on the news it was a horrible scene. I couldn’t believe it was so close to us! A few of my neighbors and the Promote Love Movement team knew that we couldn’t just send thoughts and prayers…these were our neighbors! We had to get down there and do something. Honestly, I had no idea what I was in for. What we would see wouldn’t be shown on the news. You never really get the backstory…sadly, it seems like the world moves on quickly and forgets. It becomes real to us when we see or know someone actually affected by the devastation.
Right when I was trying to think of a way to tell the backstory I got a call from a friend telling me she heard of a gay couple who had lost their home in the tornado. Their neighborhood was destroyed. She asked if I could help somehow and boy did that call come at the perfect time! The lofts that I live at had collected a bunch of items to take down there. When she called we were sorting through them. I immediately got in touch with these sweet gentlemen and told them I would love to meet them. We piled everything into a van and were headed to Rowlett to meet Tony, his husband Alfredo and their 3 dogs. Being from California…I had never seen anything like this before. My heart broke when we got into their neighborhood. I could barely hold it together. While talking with Tony and Alfredo they said it sounded and felt like a freight train was coming through their home…all they could do was hold onto each other and their pups. They had only made it to the laundry room about a minute before it hit. Please take a second to read a little bit about Tony and Alfredo. They’re staying in a hotel for the next 6-8 months and could really use our help.
1. How long have you two been together?
We met September, 4 2006 and have lived together since the first day. We had our Commitment Ceremony August 11, 2007 in the house , and were married in NYC August 9, 2011.
2. How do you keep such a positive attitude during all that has happened?
Our family motto has always been “laugh or cry” so I decided to stay positive and move forward. Doug, my deceased husband of 21 years, and I built the house together on Christmas Eve in 1987, now Alfredo and I will rebuild it and it will finally be our house together.
3. What has been your biggest struggle in all of this?
The toughest part for Alfredo was watching the home being disassembled and moving away. He lost everything he owned in a fire two years before we met. He had no insurance and was left with just his beloved dog. For him he is reliving that and can’t understand this happening again. For me, I saw the 29 years of my life disappear before my eyes. Not only my home but my neighborhood I had lived in. Some of my neighbors will not come back and will be starting all over again. Not even the trees made it.
4. Being a gay couple has it been difficult at all to receive donations or help?
It has been very difficult to say the least. It seems once they find out we are a married same sex couple, they have limited funds and are unable to do much for us.
5. What is one thing you thought about a lot when you went to sleep that next night?
The main thing on my mind was where are we going and how will we get through this? We have no idea how we will come up with the deductible, or pay for things not covered. We knew one thing for sure, this would not break us and we will have a stronger marriage than ever. I am Alfredo’s rock and he is mine. Besides, our three babies were safe and are still by our side.
It would mean a whole lot to Tony, Alfredo and myself if you could please donate what you can to their GoFundMe account: HERE. Even a little bit can make a big difference. A massive thank you to Zac, Derek, Sara, Brandon, Christy and all of my neighbors who donated items and their time. I could not have done this without you.
Promote Love Helps Rowlett Tornado Victims