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Community comes together to help victims of Calera storm

By: Nicolette Schleisman Email
By: Nicolette Schleisman Email

KINGSTON, OK -- A Calera family seriously hurt in storm earlier this month has been left struggling with mounting medical bills.

But now, they're getting some help from friends and neighbors. Some, they've never even met.

It was just over a week ago that Connie and Brandon Jackson were seriously hurt as their home collapsed around them.

Now, the owners of a local bar have organized a poker run fundraiser and the community is gearing up to help out.

"It's awesome. You never would expect so many different communities to pull together to help one family out as much as they are. It's just unbelievable," said Mer Giles, son of Connie Jackson.

Steve and Lacey Maynard had never met Mer and Shannon Giles until a week ago. And now, they consider them family.

"My son has asked me, he goes mom, I know you can help these people. you need to do something, you need to help these people. As soon as he said that I got on the horn trying to get a poker run together just to help," said Lacey Maynard.

A strong storm blew through Calera on August 12th, trapping Giles' mother, brother and 3 other family members in their home.

Connie Jackson and her son Brandon were pinned under debris, critically injuring Connie, and leaving Brandon seriously hurt as well.

Giles says they never knew what hit them because there was no warning.

"Weather is so unpredictable at times. Sometimes you can kind of predict this," said Butch Scalf, Calera Emergency Manager.

Calera Emergency Manager, Butch Scalf, says the town suffered damage in three separate storms in a period of 3 straight weeks.

But the Maynards say, it's those tough times that bring communities like this one, together.

"Little towns are affected. This is a small town. We're in Kingston, its 15 miles away, but you know that's your neighbors. If something happened here, they'd pull over here that's small town community. That's people helping people and that's what we try to do," said Steve Maynard, owner of Lacey's Bar.

Mer and Shannon Giles say they're grateful for the help, as their loved ones' medical bills pile up. Connie remains hospitalized, and they say Brandon has a long recovery ahead.

"It's humbling. It's really humbling. I mean you watch these people that you don't even know and they're willing to give you everything they have just to make sure everything goes ok. It's humbling," said Shannon Giles.

The Bull Dog Poker Run, hosted by Lacey's Bar will be this Saturday starting at 10 a.m. at Lacey's Bar in Kingston. It will go all day, rain or shine.

The Poker Run will start at noon.

All of the money raised will go back to the Jackson family.


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