Waterflow — A family is homeless after Sunday's strong winds blew the roof off their trailer, and they are looking to the community for help.
Before winds battered their home, Lottie Augustine lived with her husband, Robert, and the couple's son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren in the three-bedroom, single-wide trailer off County Road 6893 in Waterflow.
Sunday's winds pulled about two-thirds of the trailer's metal roof to the east side of the home. Wind gusts reached 40 to 60 miles per hour on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.
"I could see the holes in the ceiling and the sky," Lottie Augustine said in an interview on Wednesday.
'We don't have a home'
Lottie Augustine said she could hear the wind on Sunday and felt the trailer shake before a series of loud noises. Then, the roof peeled open, she recalled. Insulation and other debris flew about the property and came to rest in the couple's yard, along with fencing.
The commotion scared the couple's grandchildren.
"They never experienced something scary like this in their lifetime," Lottie Augustine said. "And they are still traumatized."
The family tried to leave the trailer but was trapped because the roof blocked the front door.
Since Robert Augustine was outside at the time, he managed to move the roofing to free the family.
Deputies from the San Juan County Sheriff's Office were the first to respond to the incident, followed by the San Juan County Fire Department.
The fire department deemed the trailer unhabitable, Lottie Augustine said. It will be demolished, she said.
"I was sitting in the truck, and I was crying and I was thinking, 'We don't have a home. Where are we going to go?'" she said.
The American Red Cross paid for the family to stay at a Farmington hotel until today. But, once they check out, the family says they will have nowhere to live.
Lottie Augustine said the family paid more than $1,500 to move the trailer from Kirtland to its present location in January. They recently paid $800 to connect the electricity to the trailer, which was scheduled to be turned on this week.
"We put all our money into this place and now this happened," Lottie Augustine said.
'Heartbreaking to hear their story'
Both Lottie Augustine, 65, and Robert Augustine, 71, said they receive disability and have no other source of income.
Kandice Cochrane has been reaching out to the community for donations or accommodations for the family. Cochrane is the owner of RC Mobile Home Service and Transport, the company that moved the Augustines' trailer earlier this year. She said people can donate to the family through an account called "Lottie Home Fund" at any Citizens Bank location.
"She's such a sweet lady," Cochrane said. "It is heartbreaking to hear their story."
Lottie Augustine said she appreciates Cochrane's help, as well as assistance the family has received from the sheriff's office and fire department, Oasis Ministries, San Juan County Partnership, San Juan Regional Medical Center and Nenahnezad Veterans Organization.
"I never dreamed in my lifetime that I would be homeless," she said.
When asked what she would do if no help is secured, she said she would keep trying.
"There's got to be some resources out there," she said. "There's got to be some people with open hearts. There's got to be people who are loving and caring."
Donations to help the Augustine family can be made at any Citizens Bank location through an account called “Lottie Home Fund.”Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @nsmithdt on Twitter.