Collin County Tornado Survivors Get Christmas Redo

Jose Santillano and his family have been through more in the past month than some people go through in a lifetime.

"I know it's hard," said Santillano. "But we're just trying to day by day move forward."

On December 26, they lost their three-month old baby, their home in Blue Ridge, and their Christmas to a powerful tornado.

"And we had a problem with that," said Laura Mae Benson, who is a team leader for the Bikers United Disaster Relief Teams. "All we could think of was Christmas just got wiped out for these children."

The biker group felt the Santillanos and other tornado survivors in Collin County deserved a break. So they got with the VFW Post 7426 in Farmersville to figure out how they could make that happen.

"We were like, we're going to do Christmas over," said Benson.

They did just that Saturday afternoon, inviting tornado survivors to the Post for food, visits with Santa, and presents -- lots and lots of presents.

"It honestly mushroomed considerably more than we expected," said Benson. "The donations just started pouring in."

"It made me forget about, just a little bit, what we're going through," said Santillano. "I feel happy."

Santillano can't remember the last time he saw his three kids light up the way they did Saturday.

"To see them happy, that's all that matters," said Santillano.

And for just that one moment, their only struggle was figuring out how to get their new gifts to the car before the kids finished unwrapping them.

"That's the reason we do this," said Benson.

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