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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – This Christmas, some victims of the October 20 tornadoes in Dallas are counting their blessings.
Jim Singer is one of them.
“On this day we feel blessed,” he said.
Singer and his 16-year-old son Jackson were back at their house Christmas Day, more than two months after a tornado ripped through it and their neighborhood near Preston Road and Royal Lane in Dallas.
He said they’re relieved after finding out just this week their insurance company totaled their house, and now, they can start rebuilding.
“It was a worry for us. We stressed about it for quite a bit. When it first occurred, there’s almost like a post traumatic stress disorder or syndrome you’re going through.”
Singer said they are leasing another house nearby and that being displaced has been challenging.
“Our 13-year-old daughter Brooklyn was born four days after we moved into this house in 2006. She came to me and said a couple of days after and said dad, I’m not ever going to live in my room again. I said nope, probably not and it was really hard for her because that’s all she knew.”
Like so many other people at the time, the Singers were watching the Cowboys game when they started hearing emergency sirens. They switched channels and realized they needed to get into their safe room fast.
Singer said, “Channel 11 saved us. There was your weathercaster and I remember exactly what he said. There’s a tornado on the ground at Walnut Hill and Marsh, and if you’re in the vicinity, seek shelter now. This one scares me. I’ll never forget. When he said this one scares me, I jumped up and Laura was already yelling and we got the kids in that closet just in time.”
His son Jackson said they were all huddled in their reinforced closet.
“I was back here and then my sister was right here. Our dog was right here and our two parents,” said Jackson.
“I just kept saying ‘we’re going to be OK, we’re going to be protected’,” said Jim Singer. “But I have to tell you, there were a few moments there where I wasn’t sure. So the fact that we could walk out of that closet after seeing what kind of damage happened around us is pretty amazing really. Miraculous, I would say.”
Two of the Singers’ older sons no longer live at home.
The twister blew off part of their roof, including the area over Jackson’s bedroom. “It’s weird to look up in my ceiling and see the sky,” he said.
Debris went flying, including cinder blocks that crashed through another part of their roof.
Outside, Jim showed where another cinderblock penetrated the brick exterior and the wall inside.
The Singers are leasing another house nearby, and know it may be another 18 months before they can move into their newly rebuilt home.
Jackson said, “I’m excited actually because I get to design my own room.”
Jim said, they know just how lucky they are to be celebrating the holidays this year. “God has a way of making things turn out for the better and that’s kind of our attitude here.”