Free Tornado Recovery Program Scheduled at Eastfield College

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Following the storms and tornado damage that ravaged Garland, Rowlett and other North Texas communities on Dec. 26, 2015, many people who lost their homes, property or businesses were left to literally pick up the pieces and move forward.

That recovery process can be complicated -- from navigating the insurance process to working with FEMA on disaster relief claims to handling contractors as part of the rebuilding process. Eastfield College and the Dallas County Community College District will present a free tornado recovery program on Tues., Jan. 26, to help area residents and businesses learn how to maneuver through those and other issues.

The event will be held in the G Building; registration/sign-in from 1 to 2 p.m. will be held in the foyer, where local agencies and area businesses will have exhibit space to share information about disaster relief resources for tornado survivors and advocates. The exhibit space will be open from 1 to 6 p.m.

A welcome and remarks will be led by Dr. Jean Conway, president of Eastfield College, at 2 p.m., followed by Dr. Theresa Daniel, Dallas County Commissioner for District 1, and Clarin Gniffke, district director for Sen. Don Huffines (District 16). Dr. Justin Lonon, DCCCD's executive vice chancellor for public and governmental affairs, will share comments from the college district. Area mayors whose cities were affected by the storms also have been invited. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins will talk to participants at 5 p.m. Jenkins will provide an update titled "One Month Later: After the Storm."

Four information sessions are scheduled from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m.; the sessions will be repeated from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m. so that participants can attend more than one program.

Campus Map   Session Schedule

Sessions and Speakers Include:

Navigating Your Insurance Policy (room G-220) -- Lead speaker: John Plent, Texas Department of Insurance, senior insurance specialist; Panelists: Peter Urrutia, MetroTex Association of Realtors; Jes Alexander, insurance law; Justin Slocum, Allstate, agency owner, plus an Allstate representative from its Corporate Catastrophic Claims team; Phillip Reasoner, Progressive Insurance automotive claims.

Hiring a Reputable Contractor (room G-222) -- Lead speaker: Lt. David Taylor, Texas Department of Insurance Fraud Unit; Panelists: AJ Huckby, North Texas Roofing Contractors Association; Rhonna Endres, director of business development, SDB Contacting Services.

Survivor's Checklist (room G-128) -- Lead speaker: Dr. Edward Smith, disaster and crisis response chaplain for Victim Relief Ministries and chairman of the police chief advisory committee at Cedar Valley College as well as assistant police chaplain for the Grand Prairie Police Department; Panelists: licensed practicing counselors Jeff Quan and Karen Cuttill from Eastfield and Richland colleges, respectively.

Local Rebuild Efforts: Scholarships for Construction Certification (G-129) -- Lead speaker: Judith Dumont, executive dean, Eastfield College; Panelists: Mike Cooley, executive dean, North Lake College; Jane Hanna, president of the Construction Education Foundation; and Jonna Noble, director of training for the Construction Education Foundation.

Student survivors who may need assistance can talk to college administrators about their needs in room G-130. Several Eastfield administrators will be on hand to help: Courtney Carter, executive dean, office of student engagement and retention; Karen Lazarz, director of financial aid; faculty member Laura Carr; administrator Philip Bueno; and program coordinator Dora Pacheco.

The program is free and open to storm survivors as well as members of the general public.

For more information, contact Judith Dumont, Eastfield's executive dean of workforce development, at or at 972-860-7026; or Sharon Cook, assistant to the president at Eastfield College, at or at 972-860-7629.

Visit for other tornado relief efforts offered by DCCCD through Eastfield College.

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