Shelter Oklahoma Schools and Hope Raisers Foundation are heartbroken for the Candelaria family with their loss of their beautiful daughter, Antonia Candelaira. You can read the heart-wrenching loss straight from the words of Antonia’s mother, Brandie Candelaria, after the tornado on May 20, 2013 took her little girl from her:
November 16th 2003, after an easy pregnancy and even easier delivery, Antonia Lee made her entrance into this world. She was beautiful on the inside and out and she had her own special and beautiful way of looking at the world. She could find the positive, good and joy in everything. Tonie would dance, not walk, to the beat of her own drum, and that drum was so loud that you couldn’t help but dance along.
On may 20th, we were actually up and moving on time for school and appointments which we were proud of with it being a Monday. We were excited for my birthday that day and planned to celebrate it after their daddy and I picked them up from school, though we were still trying to decide how. I dropped Tonie and Trinity off at school. I did as we did every morning I dropped them off, I gave her a kiss good bye and a kiss to each palm, then I told them “Lovin’ you, have fun and think smart.’
I would always wait and watch them walk in the building, and I remember thinking of how cute Tonie looked that day in her dress and leggings and the cute way she pinned up her hair. I never dreamed that it would be my last kiss and my last “Loving you!” from her.
When the tornado was moving in, we were at home with Tonie’s baby sister and watching the news while preparing to ride it out in our home a block and a half away from Plaza Towers. We considered picking our girls up from school but then thought that they would be safer there then in our little house. The thought of leaving them as orphans crossed my mind, but never that they would be buried beneath their school.
My Trinity had to witness her school rip apart around her, the ceiling was ripped off of the restroom where her and several friends were taking cover. She witnessed so many of her classmates and teachers injured and crying as the world around her was thrown into chaos. My beautiful Antonia never made it home that day. Please help us protect our children.
Please help us make sure that no other child has to witness what Trinity did in a place that is meant for her to feel safe in. Please help us make sure no child is taken from us the way our Tonie Lee and so many of her friends were.