JERSEY CITY – A Filipino American couple, Lordy Balatbat and Lalabeth Ortega, both 38 and residents of Jersey City, New Jersey, were killed after a tornado toppled a tree that fell down on the couple’s tent at the Cherrystone Family Camping & RV Resort Campground in Cape Charles, Virginia on July 24.
The couple’s 13-year old son, Lheandro Lloyd, was seriously injured and was taken to Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters in Norfolk. Their two daughters, Lharizia, 12, and Lheana Ann, 6, were also injured along with another Filipino American couple. Balatbat’s brother, Lovel, who was with the family escaped injuries. Also with them was Ortega’s sister and her two children. It is not known as of press time if they were among the 34 other injured victims.
The Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Consulate General in New York are asking the Filipino community in the U.S. to offer prayers for the bereaved family.
“We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the loved ones of Lordy Balatbat and Lolabeth Ortega,” Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said. “We would like to invite the Filipino-American Community to offer prayers for the couple and the loved ones who they left behind.”
Deputy Consul General Zaldy Patron of the Philippine Consulate General in New York visited Balatbat’s parents, Luis and Lily, and other family members in Jersey City to express the sympathies of the Embassy and the Consulate General and at the same time convey the offer to help. He was accompanied by Jersey City Council President Rolando Lavarro.
The Embassy and the Consulate General are continuing to coordinate with police authorities, hospital officials and members of the Filipino Community in Virginia and New Jersey on how they could extend assistance to the family of the victims.
Meanwhile, on learning of this tragedy, Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop and the Jersey City Youth Foundation (JCYF), have announced that they are hosting a fund raising event in support of the Balatbat family. Mayor Fulop is inviting the community to join them on Tuesday, July 29, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Zeppelin Hall Restaurant & Biergarten, 88 Liberty View Drive, Jersey City. The JCYF will be donating 50 percent of the proceeds from the event to help the Balatbat children and the family through this tragedy.
Proceeds from the event will also help the JCYF provide back to school backpacks so every Jersey City child can start the school year off right. To read more about the JCYF and its mission please visit: www.jcyouth.org
To make a donation in advance visit: http://bit.ly/JCYFevent
PHOTO CAPTION AND CREDIT
Lolabeth Ortega and Lord Balatbat of Jersey City, New Jersey died in a tornado that hit a campground in Virginia. FACEBOOK PHOTO