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Stacey Family Denied Disaster Recovery Assistance After Tornado Destroyed Their Family Home And Farm, Severely Injuring The Local Mom Of Two

KAWARTHA LAKES – After a tornado touched down in Kawartha Lakes on July 15, the Stacey family; Steve, Carey, Owen and Adam, were left with a home and farm that had been destroyed.

Carey was transported to Sunnybrook hospital where she remains today, in rehab, recovering from significant injuries, including a broken back.

“I heard a scream and all of a sudden I looked up out the window and everything was flowing through the air, the neighbours house, parts of it and all of their outside stuff,” recalled Carey. “My left foot, it was disgusting, it wasn’t even really attached, only with skin.”

Adding to the family grief, the government has denied them disaster assistance relief.

But to fight back, Cathie Doswell, a family friend, has launched a petition, in hopes of gathering as many signatures as possible in a fight to obtain proper support from the Ontario government.

“I was in shock, sometimes things are just so unfair and for the Stacey family the community support is incredible but for the government to deny that, it’s not fair,” said Doswell.

The family has been displaced from their family farm on Royal Oak Road in Little Britain and has been staying with various family members while Carey recovers in hospital.

When the tornado touched down, Carey and Owen were trapped in the basement, Carey was buried under an interior wall and stone chimney that collapsed on top of her.

“I just want them to get some help, they deserve it, they’re a wonderful family, and Carey is the salt of the earth, she is very well thought of and I can’t believe this has happened to her,” said Doswell. “I really can’t, if I can just somehow, with this petition get somebody to look at it, that’s all I want.”

According to Carey, her family practised safety protocols should a tornado ever touch down near home. Owen, 11, yelled for his mom to follow him to the basement when the tornado was nearing and he was sure to grab a cell phone on his way down. As Carey followed, the tornado nearly flattened their entire home and farm and as she proceeded down the basement stairs, she was nearly buried alive.

Once the storm passed, Owen called 911 and removed mounds of debris from his mom’s back. A neighbour, Aiden also ran to their rescue and held Carey and tended to her needs until paramedics arrived.

“I am so lucky that Owen was there, and Aiden showed up, I’d be paralyzed if it wasn’t for the two of them, two heroes for sure,” said Carey.

The local mom of two is currently calling St. Johns Hospital home and is unsure of when she will be released. She suffered a broken hand, a shattered ankle and foot, four broken vertebrae, a broken back and three staples in her head.

Courtesy Colin Williamson

And while the family is relying on insurance to assist in rebuilding their lives, they expect to be 150 to 300 thousand dollars short. According to Carey, they received 100 thousand dollars from insurance coverage for their barn, which will not cover the costs. They will begin to rebuild the barn as soon as possible as they are dog breeders and need a home for their animals.

“The barn was levelled,” she said. “We are doing that first; the dogs need a place asap.”

And as the cost to rebuild their farm and home will be immense, Carey decided to inquire about disaster recovery assistance as many Barrie residents qualified for the program after a tornado touched down there on the same day.

The response from the Government was a shock for the Stacey family.

“Dear Carey,

I am very sorry to hear about your situation following the recent tornado. However, the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program has not been activated in the City of Kawartha Lakes. If you have not already, I would encourage you and your family to contact your insurance company to report the damage to your home.”

Janet Tsang

Senior Program Advisor

Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians

Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing

“I guess we’re not Ontarians? I don’t know, in all honesty, I laughed, that’s our government for ya, they have been a complete letdown,” said Carey. “My husband Steve called me in tears, it was the first time Steve lost it.”

Thankfully, the amount of community support has been vast. The Stacey family has been blown away.

“If I can just say thank you, thank you, thank you for your support,” said Carey in tears. “We try to give where we can, but we never thought we would get it back like this.”

Many community support initiatives have been underway since the July 15 tornado and a GoFundMe page has also been set up to support the Stacey family.

To donate, visit http://gofund.me/bf32ab42 .

To sign the petition visit,

The Northern Tornado Project confirmed an EF2 Tornado hit Kawartha Lakes on Thursday, July 15. The twister blew through at approximately 3:20 pm.  Heavy rains also caused some flooding in Lindsay.

Investigator David Sills was in the area the following day to assess the damage. The preliminary classification is an EF2 with maximum wind speeds of 195 km an hour, The preliminary track is approximately 30 km in length and 300 meters wide.

In total the experts at the Northern Tornado Project say five tornadoes touched down in Ontario on July 15th. A tornado in Barrie caused extensive damage to a number of homes. It has also been classified as an EF2 with maximum wind speeds of 210 km/h. 11 people were injured and more than 100 people displaced.

Dwight, Lorneville and Lake Traverse also experienced EF2 tornadoes.

The Northern Tornadoes Project, founded in 2017 as a partnership between Western University and ImpactWX, aims to better detect tornado occurrence throughout Canada, improve severe and extreme weather understanding and prediction, mitigate against harm to people and property, and investigate future implications due to climate change.

Kawartha411 has reached out to Janet Tsang for comment but have yet to hear back.

According to the Ontario website, Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians, DRAO, is a program that can help you recover costs after a natural disaster.

“We may activate DRAO for damage to private property if there’s a sudden, unexpected natural event, such as a flood or tornado that causes costly and widespread damage in your area,” the site states.

If you are eligible, you could be reimbursed for:

  • clean up expenses
  • costs to repair or replace essential property
  • basic emergency expenses like evacuation travel costs

For more information visit, https://www.ontario.ca/page/apply-disaster-recovery-assistance.

Jennifer Walker
Jennifer decided to study journalism after having a life long passion for writing. She began her career as a reporter for the Uxbridge Times Journal and moved on to freelance work for various publications after her and her husband welcomed their daughters. She has been published in various Durham Region newspapers, the Durham Parent Magazine as well as Equine Wellness. Jennifer continues to follow her dreams as a wife, mother and journalist and is so excited to join the team at Kawartha411.

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