Tom Gore
Tom Gore campaign leader

Last year, I made the life changing decision to move to the Philippines in April 2013 for work. This might have been pretty daunting had it not been for the welcome I received from day one from the people who worked in the Go Abroad office with me, as well as other locals in the city. From day one I was welcomed with open arms and that is something I will always be beyond grateful for.

Later in the year, the strongest storm ever to make landfall in history hit our city and my second home, Tacloban. Miraculously, all 80 employees survived the storm. However, almost everyone's home was damaged in some way, others were completely destroyed and some even lost family and friends to the storm in horrific circumstances. Circumstances that a mere 48 hours before seemed incomprehensible as the sun shone down on Leyte, kids played in the streets and people went about their everyday lives, all of us blissfully unaware of what was fast approaching.

My colleague Aureen was one of many affected by the storm on that fateful day. Her family home in the local town of Palo had its roof ripped away by the relentless winds and the storm surge created by the typhoon flooded the house and destroyed most of what was inside, leaving her and her family with little left to salvage after the storm. As the sun finally set on what was the longest day of all of our lives, I can't even begin to imagine how Aureen and her family must have felt not knowing what lay ahead as darkness cruelly descended on what would be the first of many pitch black nights in Tacloban and the surrounding areas.

Over the past nine months, I've come to know Aureen as the person that jolts everyone into life. She is a bubble of energy who is always inquisitive and ready to crack a joke at any opportunity, turning frowns into smiles wherever she goes. I also know her as the extremely hard working woman who helps to provide for her family and her friends will tell you of her big laugh, even bigger heart and the fact she will be there for her friends and family whenever they are need of help, no matter how big or small the problem.

I'm proud to call Aureen my friend and want to help raise the $450 it will take to repair her and her family's house, so that they will once again have a roof over their heads and a place they can truly call home.

I hope you will join me in helping Aureen and her family rebuild their lives in Palo following the storm, in what is an extremely tough and trying time for them.

Thank you for your support and much love,


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