GOLDEN VALLEY Teresa Corley and her three young children saw dust devils playing across Golden Valley on their way home from Kingman on a recent monsoon evening. Small fires from lightning strikes lit the sides of surrounding mountains and the sky was a threatening black.
When they arrived at their residence on West Chino, they hurried inside the motor home they called their temporary home as nearby whirlwinds grew in size and ferocity. When the storm had passed, they ventured back outside to find their permanent residence, which was under construction, was without half of its roof.
"We were in the motor home when the tornado hit. It was like the Wizard of Oz," Corley said. "It was a really terrifying experience. When we came out we saw that the roof of the house was twisted and ruined."
The whirling high winds had flipped the roof up and folded it over onto itself, leaving the back half of the home's interior exposed to the elements.
"I disconnected the electric and gas, and the kids helped me move insulation, appliances and other building materials into the garage so they wouldn't be ruined by the rain," Corley said. "I had just spent about $4,000 to remodel the interior. We recycled a lot of used materials to keep the costs down. We were just getting ready to move in and now we have to start all over."
Corley said she is disabled and had to hire someone to do most of the remodeling work done.
Now, the money is gone and there's little to show for it. Corley had the home insured and is waiting to see how much she will be reimbursed for the damage.
In the meantime, she and her children, with help from her ex-husband who came from California to lend a hand, are salvaging everything they can from the house in case insurance doesn't cover their losses.
"Our garage is our temporary house," Corley said. "Everything we own is in there.
"The food spoiled in the refrigerator and there's no stove to cook on except the one in the motor home, and it gets so hot when we cook in there. We were supposed to have the house done and return the motor home a couple of months ago, so we already were behind what we thought our schedule would be."
Corley called Western Arizona Consortium of Governments to see what financial assistance might be available, only to be told there is no more funding available until December. She asked to be placed on the WACOG waiting list, as well as the Mohave County Development waiting list.
Representatives there said they already have replaced four homes in Golden Valley, and that elderly residents get priority.
"I have three kids and most people couldn't tell, but I have a learning disability," Corley said. "We really need help and we've called everyone I can think of. So far, nobody will help us. Some members of a church here in Golden Valley came out and looked at everything, but they haven't come back. I think maybe it was because my kids' dad was here and maybe they thought he should be doing everything, but he has a bad back and can't really do much. I just wanted him to be here for security reasons."
Before the storm destroyed her roof, she also had applied for Homestyle Furniture's free living room makeover, valued at $10,000. She's hoping and praying that she and her family are chosen as the winners.
"The application said you had to be a family in need," Corley said. "I'd say we probably qualify as much as anyone."
At the top of the family's list of immediate needs are school clothes and school supplies for Corley's oldest son, who is entering first-grade. The other two, a son and daughter, are ages 2 and 3 and will be in pre-school this fall.
Anyone who would like to donate school clothes or school supplies, or who wants to volunteer time, materials and labor to help the Corley family fix the damage to their home should call Corley at 565-2390.