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KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.

One Crisis Away: A Year Later, A Family Of Five Celebrates Surviving The Storms

Samantha Guzman
KERA news
Jessica Cadick outside of her rebuilt rental home in Garland.

KERA’s One Crisis Away series: Rebuilding A Life is catching up with four families on the financial edge still struggling to move past last year’s Christmas weekend tornadoes. 

Jessica Cadick, her fiancé and their three kids were in a bad place after the storm. Their rental home was ripped apart and they didn’t have insurance. It’s been a tough year for the family financially, and  they’re still fighting to stay afloat.

Even though the storm tore a gaping hole in her Garland rental house, Jessica Cadick says for some reason, she still used the front door when she walked in to survey the damage.

“This whole wall was gone," she says. "This was destroyed by the tornado-- from that corner to here was ripped out, windows and everything.”

Fast Start, Slow Finish

Construction on this house started fast; it was one of the first on the block to undergo repairs.

“When we originally discussed all of this it was projected it would take six weeks," she says.

Progress slowed during the spring though—and never sped back up. When KERA talked to Cadick a few weeks ago, the walls were up, the roof was repaired—but her voice echoed through the still empty house. They were finally able to move back in Monday, Dec. 19.

“The entire process from the night of the tornado itself, all I’ve said is I want to go home," she says.

Even though it’s a rental house, the place means a lot to Cadick. She actually grew up in the neighborhood, and spent a lot of time with the family that lived here. This home has been a constant presence in her life.

“That is your safe place. That is the place where you can go and kick off your shoes and no one judges you, the people that you love exist in that place and it is your bubble.”

When the December 26th tornado burst that bubble, cold reality pressed in.

A Bleak Start to 2016

Cadick and her fiancé didn’t have renters insurance, or full coverage on their truck that was smashed by the storm. She’s a student and lab assistant at Eastfield College. They live paycheck to paycheck and their savings are thin.

“A lot of people that look from the outside in also have a tendency I’ve noticed to lay blame, ‘Oh well you should have had insurance,’ I’ve heard that several times," she says. "And my response to them a lot of the time is ‘well you’re more than welcome to pay it for me. Because my choice is to feed the family.” 

Learn more about Jessica Cadick and her family here.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.