LETTER: Goderich tornado victim wonders if town cares about people or trees

A sign was posted in front of the home during Windstock, the one-year celebration after the tornado. The Brindley family has been homeless for more than 16 months now.

A sign was posted in front of the home during Windstock, the one-year celebration after the tornado. The Brindley family has been homeless for more than 16 months now.

Dear Editor,

I have recently come upon this letter  written by Kim Brindley. I have to say that I was quite surprised that this young family is still struggling with daily life due to the tornado. I wrongly assumed that all the reconstruction going on up on The Square would mean that the “important” things have already been taken care of (meaning the actual people of this town). I would appreciate it if you would please share Kim’s story in hopes that we can all come together and make sure that what is important to us are the people living in Goderich and not just how “pretty” it looks.

Melissa Peterson

(The letter below is reprinted with permission from author Kim Brindley.)

I just wrote a letter to a member of the committee of “Out of the Storm.” I just thought I’d share it with you all to see about in regards to the fundraiser hockey game coming up in Goderich. Are we raising money for trees or the look of the town or is it to help the people? That is all I am asking.

I just had a question regarding Out of the storm. I heard you are an admin of the committee.

As you might know we are the last one in Goderich still homeless from the tornado. No one has helped us. We have a two-to-three year wait for court. My husband just lost his job and I am going back to school. We have three children, 5, 4, and 2 years of age.

I know that there is an event coming up to raise money for Out of the Storm at the arena. I would just like to know more about it. Are you going to help people still suffering or is the money going into the town for trees?

I don’t think anyone can actually realize how hurt we feel being homeless still and the town is worried about trees. I joke about it but it isn’t funny; I’ve suggested maybe we can build a tree fort to live in in those trees!

I know it may sound selfish to ask for help but iI really feel like we’re dust in the wind and the town has just forgot about us. I thought a community was to care about the people in it. Instead I find this whole rebuild has been about the look of the town. Well 87 St. David St. is still an eyesore needing to be torn down. But more importantly it is our empty home, one we will never ever go back to. I can’t say how much I wish someone could just wave a wand and turn this nightmare around for us but so far it’s years before we might see this happen. It’s too bad we had always paid for insurance or the town might have actually helped us out.

Anyways enough of my sob story. Probably won’t mean anything anyways since no one else seems to care in this town. I just thought I’d put it out their…we are suffering…our children our suffering and we are a part of the community. Well I thought we were.

[Signed] Kim

Please watch for a story on this later this week.

Written by on January 9, 2013 in Goderich, Opinion - 36 Comments

36 Comments on "LETTER: Goderich tornado victim wonders if town cares about people or trees"

  1. Ann January 9, 2013 at 4:11 pm · Reply

    I say give the money from this event to this family. They need it more and we can’t let them continue to suffer.

  2. Brenda January 9, 2013 at 4:38 pm · Reply

    This goes to show that everything we work for and give to the government really does go to the people that really don’t need it…this is absolutely ridiculous that they still don’t have a home to live in.

  3. K. John Hazlitt January 9, 2013 at 4:56 pm · Reply

    Kim and family, illegitimi non carborundum. [Ed: This is a mock-Latin phrase meaning 'don't let the bastards get you down.']

  4. Stephanie January 9, 2013 at 5:36 pm · Reply

    Hmm…can’t Habitat for Humanity help out in a case like this, rather than helping those out who already have homes??

  5. Angel January 9, 2013 at 5:37 pm · Reply

    We must get this young family back into their home or a new one.

  6. Jill January 9, 2013 at 7:01 pm · Reply

    Solution is simple: help this poor family and stop raising money for trees. Enough already. Money was raised to help people why in heavens name weren’t they helped? Let me guess, they missed the deadline. Poor excuse, Goderich, poor excuse.

  7. Dale Baechler January 9, 2013 at 7:15 pm · Reply

    There must be more to this story, than is printed. This should not happen if there is sufficient insurance or if no insurance, then the fund was to pay to rebuild. Is there more to this story??

  8. Kim Brindley January 9, 2013 at 7:57 pm · Reply

    Hi Everyone. Thanks for your support.
    To answer the above questions: Yes we have adequate insurance, no they aren’t paying us until it is taken to court.
    We tried to get the relief fund to help us and after various meetings were told by the relief fund to retain a lawyer as we didnt have a big enough settlement to help us and insurance should come good.
    It seems obvious that insurance should pay us but guess what? We won the loser draw out of the deal!
    It happens to a lot more people than you know.
    If we settled with what they were giving us we would have went bankrupt. If the relief fund stepped up from the beginning we wouldn’t have needed a lawyer.
    So we tried to settle with insurance with our lawyers help and still no head way.
    We have no rent money coming in and we are still paying a mortgage on a house that needs to be tore down.
    Basically it comes down to if we don’t have help from the town and the relief fund then we have to wait it out for 2-3 years and to top it all off my husband just lost his job as his work sold.
    I have no idea what else to tell you but HELP!
    Our lawyer has contacted the relief fund once again but I havent heard if they will help us or not. All I heard is they dont cover ALE (rent).
    Please if anyone else is out there suffering from the tornado, please come forward so we can all get help.
    Kim Brindley

  9. Cathy January 9, 2013 at 8:06 pm · Reply

    I agree with Stephanie. Let’s get Habitat involved and build this family a house.
    Or let’s get another talk show host involved and get a house built instead of a yard fixed up.
    Let’s get a fund-raiser going for this family or door to door donations.This must stop!
    Let’s show the family WE CARE!

  10. Becky McIvor January 9, 2013 at 8:27 pm · Reply

    I also wondered why the Brindley.s would not have received help from the committee that was headed up by Tom Jasper. He went out of his way to look after people’s best interests. Call Mr. Jasper and enquire.

  11. trisha brown January 9, 2013 at 8:39 pm · Reply

    The families should be thought of before anything else. Do the right thing. Help these people……..

  12. Gwen January 9, 2013 at 8:48 pm · Reply

    This is truly a sad state of affairs for this family. What happened to all the money that was raised to help people in this kind of situation? I would like some kind of response from members of this committee as to why this family is still without a home.

    • Heather Boa January 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm · Reply

      The Edge Renewal Fund was the organization behind Out of Storm. The non-profit corporation received an initial seed donation of $100,000 from a concerned family. This family has also promised additional funds (up to $200,000) to match donations received from other members of the community. The Fund is hopeful that it will ultimately have $500,000 to inject into the community. Efforts are under way to raise the additional $200,000 to secure the matching funds. Its mandate is to help rejuvenate the natural environment, heritage and cultural arts in the Goderich area. The committee is accepting applications for funds based on five major priorities: maximum impact on wider community, public value whether artistic or functional, support or complement to other committees or strategies, other income or funding sources, and community involvement based on public feedback to the proposals that will be posted on-line. The committee today pledged to help if it can.

  13. Randy Kisch January 9, 2013 at 9:51 pm · Reply

    Call Mike Holmes! He has a new show called “Holmes Makes it Right” in which he helps people who have suffered damage to their residence either through natural disaster or from shady contractors. As he says on his new show’s website “Mike will be taking on disasters that would make other contractors run. The kinds of circumstances where you don’t just need a contractor, you need a miracle.” Well this sounds like just the type of case that he could solve. His website address is: http://www.hgtv.ca/holmesmakesitright/
    I will gladly contact him to see if there is anything that he can do.

  14. KImberly Ann January 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm · Reply

    I know it’s not exactly a sure thing, but I contacted Make It Right (Mike Holmes) about this, here:


    Maybe if other people contact him, too… ? Maybe.

    I included the youtube video with the message, as well, the one that aired on CTV about the Brindley family more than a year ago:


  15. Randy Kisch January 10, 2013 at 6:40 am · Reply

    I agree Kim. I think that if more and more people send him messages, then someone will pay attention.

  16. joe January 10, 2013 at 7:38 am · Reply

    I know this family really well and someone that complains about what Goderich has not done for them should think what people of Goderich have done for them. If they are that hard up than usually people look at what they have and what they really need and dispose of the rest to help themselves.

    • Deb Baxter January 10, 2013 at 9:44 am · Reply

      I do not know the family, and ‘Joe’ chooses to conceal his/her identity. I find the comment very harsh. The lack of compassion demonstrated suggests that ‘I know this family really well’ might be more appropriately stated ‘I hold this family in contempt.’ There is no justification, just innuendos. Please consider removing the comment as inappropriate, Heather.

    • Deb Baxter January 10, 2013 at 10:00 am · Reply

      There appears to be a community will to understand both the issues involved and the needs of the family. Without more information it is difficult to help.
      Kim Brindley, you characterize your family as homeless, but surely that cannot be accurate. Where are you living? What support are you receiving? What would you see as an appropriate community response?
      Any response should be client-centred to ensure appropriate allocation of resources.

  17. Marilyn January 10, 2013 at 8:36 am · Reply

    We always hear Kim’s side of the story but nothing from Jon. What about him saying a few words and what about the insurance company side? There is always two sides to every story and I think the insurance company should speak up and let us know some of their side as to why there is nothing being settled. I honestly feel Goderich has done a lot for this family, and they need to learn to deal with their own problems at some point in their life. Goderich needs to put this money that is made from these Hockey games to where it was advertised that it was going towards otherwise people are not going to be helping out much longer on these fundraisers. There is lots of other government programs out there that will help this family if really in need. We only hear the bad from Kim never what the Goderich community has done for them already, and I’m sure the community has done well for them as to what I’m told already. This is the only family we ever hear bad things from in Goderich. Maybe they don’t like living in this wonderful, caring, sharing small town and that is why Kim is only finding the negetive in this town and never anything postive.

    • Kylie Hulley January 10, 2013 at 5:33 pm · Reply

      I am just wondering…What has the town done for her?? She is not “homeless” per say…. she is renting and paying a mortgage….. I myself was unable to receive help from the relief fund because there was a deadline to apply (which I didn’t know) and we didn’t realize the extent of the damage to our home until about six months later…. which we were told is common when there are structural issues. I did thousands of dollars in fund-raising for the relief fund!! Our insurance company didn’t cover near the amount they should have!!!! I couldn’t afford a lawyer to go to court either! I haven’t had any help from the town of Goderich…. Doesn’t mean that I don’t want to live here… Government programs are also hard to apply for and receive and could take months if not at least a year to receive…if they qualify. How about giving your full identity Marilyn… state where you have got your info from as to what Goderich has done for her and her family. I am sure she is speaking on behalf of her husband as well which is what happens in most cases!!! Which is what I am doing right now for my husband (Steve) There are always 2 sides to every story… I do agree with that… but I can attest that my insurance company wouldn’t tell the entire truth to my situation if they decided to come forward!!!! I am wondering Marilyn… did you have damage to your home? Did anyone in your family have damage to their home??? What would you know about the problems that Kim and her family have or are facing and when they should face them? You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to kick this family when they are already down!!!

  18. Marie January 10, 2013 at 10:30 am · Reply

    I can’t believe the last two comments about how Goderich has done a lot for this family. I think until you are in their shoes you should reconsider your comments. How would you feel if you could never go back to the place you call home but you are still paying for it, or what about explaining to your small children that they will never go back to their home. I find that the people who were not affected by the tornado have no idea the financial burden you end up with. I think Goderich needs to worry more about bringing industry and jobs and a little less about what it looks like. It’s not going to matter about trees when all the young families move away because there is no jobs to support their families. Their home is not the only one sitting unfixed or what about business that didn’t return to The Square. If you were at any town meetings after the tornado I remember it was said that they were going to do everything they could to get people back in their homes and businesses back up and running. Their children deserve the communities help, so they can be back in their home.

  19. Raelynn January 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm · Reply

    Not sure where your head is Marilyn but Kim and her family are not the only ones that do not see Goderich as a perfect wonderful caring sharing town. There are lots of people quite unhappy how funds were allocated and no one has been held accountable. If you really think they are the only ones unhappy then boy, you need to open your eyes.

  20. Kim Brindley January 10, 2013 at 3:23 pm · Reply

    The town of Goderich has been very supportive to us and I do apologize if it looked like i wasn’t greatful for that. It is a very complicated matter in which I know most don’t understand.
    I do love Goderich and hope that with the help of the support of the community we will get through this tough time!
    People will generate negative comments to please themselves but it just shows who the real negative people are!
    I’m just a middle class person trying to have a home again for our family.
    I really hope others get the help they need as well. Much love, Kim

  21. Kim Brindley January 10, 2013 at 3:46 pm · Reply

    To clear up homeless im meaning, we no longer have a home and living off of family as we can’t afford to pay them as we pay for a mortgage on a wrecked house. No rent money coming in and if it wasn’t for family letting us live there in their rental home then we would be on the streets. So it maybe looks great that we have a roof over our head but can you imagine doing that to anyone? It’s not a nice situation.

  22. Terra Rayner January 10, 2013 at 4:43 pm · Reply

    I cannot believe some of the comments here. First of all, i don’t live in Goderich anymore and haven’t for some time but I donated money to go towards the victims of the tornado not the landscape of the town. The relief fund is to help all victims of the disaster, you all know how insurance companies operate so its pretty fair and safe to say that they will attempt to get out of paying in any way they can. Next just because someone isn’t on the side of the road in a cardboard box doesn’t mean that they still don’t have THEIR home, are you all in your homes? The homes where your family are used to and once felt safe and secure. There isn’t just this family, there are many more that have had no assistance, they have been told in order to even be considered for help from the partially government funded relief that they must first settle with their insurance company…..this is just to look at it!!!!! It’s still not a guarantee that they will receive the help they deserve….what if it was you and your family would you still make this stand? I doubt it, you all have so much to say when it’s someone else. Take your nasty comments, we aren’t interested in them we are interested in seeing all these families back in their homes and restarting their former lives. And the worst part of your comments and vile attitude towards other human beings is that if it was you I would go to bat for you too as would everyone else making this a priority. My only question to you is how do you sleep at night???? I pray that you never have to wonder how you are going to pay your existing mortgage on a home you cannot live in and pay rent on a temporary accommodation after losing your source of income and still able to put a smile on your face for your kids so they can stop feeling the affects of what their parents are going through. No one said that you were expected to help so don’t….but don’t offer your snide remarks either….they aren’t helpful nor needed

  23. Reg January 10, 2013 at 4:48 pm · Reply

    I agree with Marilyn in that there are two sides to every story. It is unfortunate that the circumstances this family are in are causing so much anger, hate and sadness, but in a situation where most of the community was able to get help, there must be more to the story about why this house still stands the way it is. People donated money to a cause that they believed in, and the money should not suddenly be transferred from one family – maybe there are other families still hurting and dealing with poor circumstances. I believe this family does need help, but it should be found through other resources – In my opinion, it’s quite selfish of this woman to ask for a transfer of monies.

    • Jen Tucker January 10, 2013 at 10:04 pm · Reply

      Reg, Kim isn’t asking for the money all to herself she is asking other families to come forward so that ALL the families / people still affected can be helped FINALLY and not have to wait and wonder anymore.

  24. Elaine Smith January 10, 2013 at 6:46 pm · Reply

    I believe that if your going to make snide/negative remarks about the Brindley family, for you to be man/woman enough to identify yourselfs. Amazing how the folks wanting to help are willing to give their full names and were they live. Hiding your name is a cowardly act!!

  25. Jenn January 10, 2013 at 7:22 pm · Reply

    WOW…..I am absolutely ASHAMED to come from a community that has so many nasty and hurtful things to say about a situation they know NOTHING about!! I donated MY money, raised money, collected donations of food, clothing, toys, personal hygiene products, food for animals, bought paper plates, napkins, plastic cutlery and cups for use at K of C centre, and collected medical supplies from a medical office in Toronto to help those that were in need!! I am angry that money that I DONATED (my own hard earned wages) and money that was given to me by others from across the Kitchener/Waterloo region and the GTA region has went to landscaping! That money was given freely to help the people of Goderich in rebuilding their lives and gaining some sense of a normalcy, NOT to be going towards trees, gazebos, water fountains, lights and ashphalt!
    Kim Brindley and Family, I stand behind you and I will do what I can to help you and any other families that are also affected. To those that are voicing their hurtful, snide and nasty remarks….you should be totally ashamed of yourselves, because if it is was you or your family things, would be different wouldn’t it?? Step up and help out or keep you opinions to yourself!!!

    Terra, you are doing a great job in trying to help keep it up!!

    • Heather Boa January 10, 2013 at 10:59 pm · Reply

      For clarification, $4 million was raised for the Goderich and Area disaster relief fund, in a program that would see those dollars matched by up to 2:1 from the province. That $4 million has been dispersed to people, businesses and organizations that suffered loss in the tornado. The fund paid up to 90 per cent of costs that were not covered after insurance claims were settled in order to replace what was there at the time of the tornado, based on criteria established by the province. Of 373 claim files, there are seven that have not been dealt with for various reasons.

  26. Connie January 10, 2013 at 8:04 pm · Reply

    I am in utter dismay with the negative comments towards a family who is in need. I fully understand how Kim and her family feel not being able to live in their “home.” I had a house fire and yes my insurance company did help out but definitely not the way I believed an insurance company would help out. Its not all sunshine with the paperwork and time spent on figuring out what you had and didn’t have (including having to price everything.) I understand where Kim is coming from. It is hard to keep a family together when you don’t know where you’re going to live until things happen, where you’re going to get money to buy what you need, and definitely don’t know what will happen as time moves on. All Kim is asking is where did this money go (which everyone who donated should be asking since there was a committee who was dividing this money out.) Why can’t someone, who is in discussions with their insurance company, have some help and when they get the money from their insurance company, pay back the donation. It makes sense to me and I’m sure Kim would agree as well. Anything to help her and her family get back into their real home is what the committee should be doing. I guess like most people say, until you’ve stepped into another person’s shoes do you realize what they are going through. I wish Kim and her family all the love and support for everything they are going through. I want to help in any way I can–if Kim needs someone to talk to, be there when she’s trying to go through paperwork, or even just to look after her children so she can take a break, I will do that for her.

  27. Joe Switzer January 10, 2013 at 11:08 pm · Reply

    I don’t know enough about the specifics of this situation to comment on it but here’s a thought. There have been benefit dances for people that have lost their house to fire etc. Someone should contact the Knights of Columbus or Lions club. Get a venue and someone with SmartServe. Charge a cover and run some games like “Guess how much crappy tire money in the jar” etc and charge for drinks. Maybe even get a band. Anyone that wants to come and give support can, and those who don’t can stay home. This isn’t a solution but I’m sure the family could use a few hundred bucks to pay lawyers fees or put food on the table.

  28. lisa January 11, 2013 at 2:01 am · Reply

    Who care about what side of the story!!!! Just help this family for the love of God…. they sure need a home to live in and not be paying for something that was out of their control…. I really hope you get your home back and fixed or rebuild. I’m so sorry for the rudeness of others.

  29. Carolyn Parks Mintz January 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm · Reply

    Societies are judged by how they treat the most vulnerable in their midst — regardless of circumstance. Caring people are a blessing. Some others, not so much. I’ll watch for the BIG fundraiser that I hope develops for the Brindleys — and contribute regardless. (PS: I am aware of some of the truly unsavoury aspects of what has happened to this family … and they aren’t pretty.)

  30. Kim Brindley January 19, 2013 at 8:46 am · Reply

    Jon and I appreciate all of your kind comments. As far as the negative ones I will not take personally because unless you are living our life and seeing all of the paperwork then you can even make true judgements.
    Thanks for your support and it is nice to see that there are others out their who care.

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