Leonora: Recovery continues

FAIRMONT – When Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in November, Leonora Chadderdon of Fairmont felt helpless knowing that most of her family was there and that their homes were destroyed.

When Chadderdon – proprietor of Leonora’s Men and Women’s salon in downtown Fairmont – began raising money to help, local residents were more than generous.

Individuals, churches and even other salons all donated. This past winter, Chadderon was able to put together five large boxes of supplies, as well as $3,000, to help her family members repair their homes.

“I sent the five boxes to help the family, and once I got there, they all had fun opening the boxes,” Chadderdon said. “Everybody got something.”

Chadderdon has documented who received money to help with rebuilding.

“They’re still not quite done,” she said.

But being there with her family members made it all worthwhile.

“Seeing them happy, I am happy too,” she said.

One story in particular touched her, involving her sister, who needed dental work.

“She had needed to fix her teeth for years,” Chadderdon said. “She didn’t smile, and the dentures cost 10,000 pesos ($240). She only makes about $6 a day doing laundry. She wanted to use her money to fix her house, but I insisted that she have her teeth fixed, and I paid for it. Dentures for $240, while here we would pay almost $1,000. Now she has a lot more to smile about.”

While roofs have been replaced, there are still buckets for leaks. Chadderdon knew her family would continue to need help. In order to ease her mission, she applied for dual citizenship in the Philippines.

“I became a U.S. citizen when I first moved over here,” she said. “Now to make it easier and if I stay more than three months, I went and got a dual citizenship.”

Chadderdon is already making plans for next winter.

“I’m still raising money,” she said. “I’m just going to keep working as long as my health is good. I have a good life here, and still raise money from my work … They are so poor there, so I have a lot of compassion for my family. I have lots of nephews that need help. I got one a tricycle that he uses as a taxi so he has income. Another has a surf shop on the beach.”

Chadderdon remains grateful for the kindness of Fairmont residents.

“I just wanted to let people see the proof that the money went there, and to thank them again,” she said.