Veteran and wife displaced by ice storm, unable to pay for electric work

In Your Corner

ANADARKO, Okla. (KFOR) – The impact of October’s historic ice storm spread statewide. The staggering statistics are found in rural areas like Anadarko, where nearly 30 percent of the Caddo County seat was once in the dark.

For Willie and Natalie Bankston, though, the nightmare continues.

“We heard a crash, went outside to see what was happening,” Willie explained. “It took out our electricity and cable at the same time.”

Willie spent his younger years in the Army. He met his wife while stationed near Lawton decades ago.

“I pursued [Natalie] a long time,” he chuckled. “She wouldn’t even tell me her name.”

The two tied the knot and lived in Washington state for some time, before moving to Anadarko nearly 12 years ago.

But for three nights after the storm, after losing power, the Bankston’s were living out of their truck.

Natalie’s numerous health issues and an ongoing pandemic meant a crowded shelter was no option.

“She’s very concerned, and she’s just scared to death of being in the shelter,” said Willie. “We were having to turn on the truck every other 30 minutes. This is Oklahoma, it gets cold.”

With Willie’s military background, the VA became involved, blasting out an email on the Bankston’s situation.

That call for action caught the attention of Fred Ikard with Caddo County Department of Human Services.

“It was basically a call to arms to help out an elderly couple from Anadarko,” Fred explained. “Whenever I first saw the email, I took it personal. This is Caddo County.”

Fred teamed up with Catholic Charities out of Oklahoma City and Grace Christian Fellowship out of Anadarko, fixing the Bankston’s up with a room at the Budget Inn.

“I didn’t have anything else to do, didn’t know where else to go with it,” said Willie. “For them to put us in a room was God-sent.” 

But the problems aren’t over for Willie and Natalie.

While Fred took care of the branches in their yard, the home’s electrical system is in need of out-of-pocket repair.

“So they have to have that fixed, before the city will hook up the power,” said Fred.

The Bankston’s, however, don’t have the funds to get this done by themselves.

Fred Ikard is now leaning on the Oklahoma Standard, hoping someone will help send this veteran home.

What’s needed are funds for the repair and equipment. To help, call In Your Corner at (405) 759-6985.

Our team is working on a solution for the Bankstons. Stay tuned!

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