As the town of Rowlett and its residents continue to recover from the EF-4 tornado nearly 10 months ago, one man whose home was destroyed is now facing even more obstacles.
It's all Robert Zeller has — three loaded metal boxes and a heap of stuff tossed out after his two-story brick home was lost to foreclosure. He and his disabled brother, Andy, reflected on life since the tornado struck his home and hundreds of others.
Zeller is convinced the contractor he chose for repairs was dishonest. His insurance company paid for temporary housing but only lasted several months. He says the situation caused him to struggle with his mortgage payment.
"I'm talking to the mortgage company. They said, 'Hey, we're going to work with you. There's so much stuff we can do. We can refinance,'” he recalled. “I call back the next week and the woman on the phone said, 'You need to come up with $35,000 or you are out.'"
Zeller and Andy wound up in a hotel along with their dogs: Bella, Herman and Cindy. The dogs are the only things that have comforted Andy throughout the tornado trauma.
"That's how he deals with it. They're his friends,” he explained.
Zeller says he has to constantly prove to the state that he can adequately care for his brother.
"They're telling me he may have to go to a group home,” he recalled. “They came and inspected, and they were happy and relieved. They don't want to do that. They know he's best with me."
Despite his battles, Zeller says he remains hopeful things for the five of them will get better soon.
“I'm very hopeful,” he said. “I have strong faith, and I know God will take care of us."