Tornado Victims Still Waiting for Financial Relief

July 27, 2006 - Posted at 4:45 p.m. CDT

MARMADUKE, AR - Almost four months ago, the town of Marmaduke was a disaster area after a massive tornado ripped through the community. Since then, a number of individuals and organizations have raised money for the Marmaduke Relief Fund...however residents are still waiting to see the relief.

Since April 2nd's tornado, good neighbors of all kinds in Region 8 have stepped to the plate to help those who lost everything.

"This little girl came in and gave the smallest donation we had, which has as much meaning as thousands of dollars.  She had a dollar and she wanted to donate that to the families who lost everything. To make it even tougher the little girl's father has just lost his job and I know they could have used that money," said Marmaduke Mayor Nileane Drope.

But four months after this disaster, the residents of Marmaduke are still waiting to see the money raised to help them rebuild. City Hall has delayed writing the checks until all fundraisers had been held.

"We were hoping to get a lot of money from the rodeo held in Piggott for the Fourth of July," said Marmaduke Treasurer Betty Jackson, "We got a phone call on that they received no money, therefore we get no money."

The town received the word last week that the rodeo fundraiser actually lost money. So with a total of $42,925 the town will write each family a check depending on the level of devastation to their home.

"Category one is going to be an owner occupant who lost everything," said Jackson, "They will receive $275 dollars each. In category two, renter occupant will get $150 dollars each."

The scale continues down to $125 for those who owned and had several thousands dollars in damage and everyone else will receive a $50 check. With over $42,000 raised in the Marmaduke relief fund, a number of residents are expecting a hefty check. However with over 450 homes damaged by April 2nd's tornado, it averages out to less than $100 a household.

"I think that most people will appreciate what they get, because it's a dollar they didn't have otherwise," said Drope.

Jackson says the town is in the process of writing and signing the checks and hopes to have them in the mail to residents in the next couple weeks.