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Family working to keep Okla. safe during tornadoes

The Hamil Family

OKLAHOMA CITY — Debra Hamil is on a one-woman crusade who is meeting with any state lawmaker who will listen.

Her objective is to make Oklahoma homes safer during severe weather.

State Senator, AJ Griffin, said, “We obviously still have issues to address. We’ve got the best weather people in the world. But one life lost is one too many as we learned recently in Woodward. We haven’t arrived at the safest place we can be.”

Hamil is hoping more new construction will include storm shelters.

Her two grandsons, Ryan and Cole, were killed last spring when the family took refuge in a bathtub as a tornado barreled through the Falcon Lake community in Piedmont.

Hamil said, “The reason that I want this, I am passionate about doing this for Ryan and Cole. This is the last thing as a grandmother I can do.”

House Bill 2720, which has stalled at the Capitol, would require home builders to offer a storm shelter at the time of construction.

Debra said “peace of mind” is less than the price of granite counter tops.

She said, “Home builders, in my opinion, aren’t stepping up to the plate here. They need to inform them at the time of building. I’ve heard from people who told me, I didn’t even think about that.”

This grandmother is hoping it’s something more folks will consider.

She dreads the thought of another Oklahoma family suffering through the same life-changing loss.

According to Hamil, “This would have saved Ryan and Cole and I don’t want other families to go through this. It’s hard. very hard.”