Rebuilding home a ‘blessing in disguise’ for Bethel Acres tornado victims


BETHEL ACRES, Okla. – The pounding of hammers is bringing hope back to Joe and Bettie Spears.

The couple hid in a neighbor’s storm shelter when an EF4 tornado ripped through the area May 19. Their mobile home was completely destroyed.

Five months later, Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity is building them a new house, with help from Crossings Community Church and students from Villanova on fall break.

“It’s just kind of cool to see the house being built.” Student Rachel Walsh said. “It was nothing a few hours ago and now there’s all these walls put up so it’s cool.”

“We`re getting our dream house.” Bettie Spears said. “That was our dream when we first bought this land and we just put a double wide there. And our dream was were going to build a house right where this one is at.”

Joe and Bettie are both disabled. Despite that, they worked side-by-side with crews, helping in whatever way they could as the frame of their home went up.

“Oklahomans are incredibly nice people.” Student Nevin Pathak said. “Oklahomans just really bond together and they help each other out, which is something that I’ll definitely take away from this trip and this experience.”

Habitat for Humanity plans to build 400 other homes over the next few years for families who lost everything in the May tornadoes.

The Spears also get a brand new storm shelter along with their house. Construction should be finished in just one month.

“It just goes back to the same old adage, you know, one door closes another one’s bound to open.” Joe Spears said. “I guess when we look back on it now it’s kind of like a blessing in disguise.”

Housing is currently going up in Moore and Carney.

The Central Oklahoma Habitat for Humanity said they plan to build as many as 400 homes over the next three to five years for families impacted by the May tornadoes.