Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John Doak visited storm-stricken Spavinaw Tuesday afternoon. He visited with victims, town leaders and took a walk through town to survey the damage.
Spavinaw was hit by an F-1 tornado April 17. Though no one was injured, the small community was heavily damaged.
“We wanted to come here and make sure the folks in Mayes County know that we can help them,” Doak said, adding that he wanted to be able to address ongoing concerns from citizens regarding their home coverage and what needs to change to better cover events such as a tornado.
“We are doing outreach to let people know we are here to help them,” he said.
Doak said he’d recently visited Woodward to mark the one year anniversary of a tornado that ripped through that community, killing five.
“I have several remaining concerns, the first being we need more storm shelters in mobile home parks,” Doak said. “Also the unscrupulous contractors that come in when things like this happen and try to take advantage of people.”
Doak said a state anti-fraud vehicle will be monitoring the damaged areas on a regular basis.
“We work closely with local law enforcement,” he said, adding that citizens should voice their concerns about potential fraud. “You have a resource in us.”
Doak met with Spavinaw Mayor Jim Winn and toured the damage. An existing siren that did not sound during the storm will be replaced soon, according to Winn.
“Pryor is donating a siren, PSO is helping with installation,” Winn said, adding that donations are being accepted to offset the cost of getting the new siren online with Mayes County Emergency Management.
“Cherokee Nation has already pledged $1,000,” Winn said. “We want to make sure we are prepared.”
Other donations have also been given to the community.
Doak said he knows that compassion follows every trial.
“I can tell you, you can see Oklahomans are very good about pulling together to help one another,” Doak said.
For more information, or to voice a concern, log onto www.ok.gov/oid or call (800) 522-0071.