Just talked to Barbara! She got a new dog in July (BJ for Bowser Junior) who goes by Junior. He is only 6 pounds fully grown and quite the lap baby. He's loving life in his new house. I'd never seen a teacup schnauzer before, but he's a handsome devil.
She IS getting some of her mail, delivery has restarted, but it is not always timely. Post Office is still sorting it out, she went there yesterday to give em' what for, but she said you can send cards or whatever you wish to her work address, which she will indeed receive.
Barbara Garcia/Elegant Decor
11629 South Western Avenue
Oklahoma City, OK 73170
I'll be closing this campaign and page down at the end of this month. Wanted to thank everyone again for participating, donating and sharing this fund. Its been an incredible education on the power of compassion. Good people are all around us and willing to help. Its been a lesson I won't soon forget and its forever changed me.
I'm also, frankly, a bit tired of the negativity and accusations I've received in comments here or in private emails as a result of having created this fundraiser. I cannot control the fact that your letters or cards did not reach Barbara and that the Moore post office hadn't re-established postal delivery. I'm not a criminal or a con artist. I have never touched or came into contact with a single dime from this campaign - it all went to Barbara's bank account, which her lawyer set up. I never set out to gain anything, other than knowing that my actions helped to spark this incredible build taken on by all of you. I found her an attorney, took every step to ensure that she was taken care of and safe in her new home. I am someone who was incredibly moved by Barbara's story, as you all were, and wanted to do something to improve her situation. Crowdfunding made that possible - you made that possible.
I do know that your funds were used for a house for Barbara and Bowser, along with furnishings inside the house, which had all been lost to the tornado. I posted pictures of the house as it was going up and even visited her in Moore to see it with my own eyes. I've kept you up to date as much as possible. I wish I could do more, but this is the best I can do.
Many of you have asked why cards or letters were returned. I sent Barbara a Christmas card last year that was also returned. She told me that the post office took a very long time to re-start mail delivery to the house, given that her entire neighborhood was wiped out. She was the first and only house to rebuild for many blocks, even into January 2014. We haven't spoken in months although I have emailed her to check in.
Her address, to my knowledge, is still the same: Barbara Garcia 113 SW 8th Street Moore OK 73160
Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year,
Heavy hearts today. Barbara's beloved Bowser passed away this morning after having a stroke. He had been on medication after the tornado, due to fluid build up in his lungs and had been doing well, despite everything he'd been through. Please keep Barbara in your thoughts and prayers. Her address is pasted below if you want to send a note or a card.
I wanted to take a minute to thank you again for being a part of this inspiring community and for donating to Barbara and Bowser's fund back in May. You contributed, shared the links, tweeted, penned your own personal stories, emailed me, sent Bowser boxes of toys and turned Barbara's dream into a homecoming.
If you're sitting around a table this coming Thursday, reflecting on what you've done over the past year that's truly made a difference, know that you were a part of something monumental. There will be many families thinking of you, mine included, acknowledging your generosity and your spirit.
I cannot adequately convey how moved I have been by all that you've done and how much this entire experience has inspired me and changed me. The kindness and compassion of strangers helped to build a new house and give Barbara and Bowser a new life. The phoenix from the flame, lit by 1,800 different matches from all over the globe.
"My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness."
"• Dalai Lama XIV
Welcome home Barbara! She's in the new house! See the link below for all the photos I was just sent. And thank ALL OF YOU again for making this day a reality. Not bad work for 1600 strangers, from more than 12 countries around the world. When you put your mind to it, anything is possible.
Quick update. I hope to have more pictures of the house build and of sweet bowser by the end of the week to share. Barbara was going to take more pics over the weekend. In the meantime, the brick is up, a third bedroom is being built, a carport is going in and a storm shelter will be installed. If all goes as planned, Barbara should be in the house before the end of the year.
I very much want to share my experience with Barbara, this fund's success and incredible community with other people interested in learning how to raise money through social media. I've submitted a talk at the prestigious South by Southwest (sxswi) in Austin, TX and humbly ask for your vote. Only the talks that receive the most "thumbs up" are invited to this event. My intention is to inspire you to make a difference and an impact in the lives of others. All you need is the passion for your cause, the willingness and ability to connect and the social tools to get you there. Link below where you can read more about the proposed talk and hit the thumbs up button if you feel so inclined.
I am in contact with Barbara and her family. They are so thankful, humbled and overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness and generosity. Before the CBS piece aired, I didn't know Barbara Garcia personally, but was incredibly moved by her story and of her reunion with her sweet dog, captured on CBS news (live) after the Moore, Oklahoma tornado on May 20th. Barbara could have been my mother, my grandmother, my neighbor or my friend. I was shattered upon seeing her home destroyed, her recounting her experience and her joy upon seeing that her dog had survived it all. My goal is to ease her recovery, raise enough money to help her start to rebuild or relocate her life, and above all else, to show her that "life in the big city" also means helping one another, even from 1500 miles away.
Some people may feel more compelled to donate money directly to the Red Cross or local Salvation Army chapters, which I completely understand. I was inspired to create this fund so that I could impact one person's life directly and personally, just as she impacted mine. How amazing would it be if social media and the power of human empathy could help build her a new home? Barbara did not have homeowners insurance and is temporarily living with her daughter and her grandchildren.
If I can inspire you to donate $5, $10 or $25 to help Barbara begin to build a new home (complete with a dog house for her canine companion) I'd be eternally grateful and it will go a long way. If you are unable to donate, please share the link with friends via facebook and twitter and help us get the word out about Barbara's story. And "in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make."
Let's show her what love and community is all about.