Homeowners in Rowlett are still struggling to get back on their feet more than a year after a tornado tore through the city.
Tonight, Thursday, Jan. 26, at least a dozen restaurants in Rowlett donated a percentage of sales to the Rebuild Rowlett fund, which helps homeowners cover the cost of repairs.
The relief fund raised nearly a quarter-million dollars after the December 2015 tornado. It helped 39 people rebuild, but now the fund is tapped.
Erik Dear, a Rowlett homeowner, can use all the help he can get. He says he paid a contractor $107,000 to repair his home. More than a year later, his home is a shell of its former self.
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"The last thing that showed up was brick, and that was it. And that was June," said Dear.
Dear is still making mortgage payments and says he plans to save and pay for repairs out-of-pocket when he can afford it.
"I want to be back in my house," he said.
Helping homeowners, like Dear, rebuild is the goal of Thursday's city-wide "Spirit Night" event created by the organization Rowlett Strong.
"It's been a year and people are thinking, 'Oh, we're moving on with our lives and people are still in need, so we're trying to do what we can to help them,'" said Amber Conway, with Rowlett Strong.
Here is a list of participating restaurants:
- Chick-fil-A of Rowlett
- Dalrock Diner
- Dickey's Barbecue Pit #432
- El Centro Mexican Restaurant
- Jimmy John's
- McAlister's Deli
- Mr Jim's Pizza
- Nick's Sports Grill
- Pancho & Lefty's
- Splits Grill