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Holding Hands through Rushing Waters

Field Report by Rachel Galloway

TEXAS – The floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey rose outside Donald’s home, but he and his family didn’t notice until it was too late. When he looked out the window, the street was flooded and the water started rushing into his home.

Donald, his wife, and their daughter grabbed what they could, but in those few short moments the water rose to three feet inside their home.

“We were watching it, and then all of a sudden it wouldn’t go down,” he said. “So, we had to walk through three feet of water to get out of our house.”

As if the height of the water wasn’t problematic enough, it was also moving. Together, they set out into the rushing waters.

“It was really a scary, scary situation,” Donald said. “We had to actually hold hands to stay together because the water was flowing pretty fast.”

When the waters finally receded, Donald’s house was left in ruins. There was no way they could live there. His wife and daughter went to stay with family across town while Donald moved into a trailer behind the house.

Months later, many relief organizations have pulled out of Texas after offering immediate relief to Hurricane Harvey victims. But Operation Blessing is still on the ground, coordinating volunteers daily to help families in need.

Donald could not handle gutting his home alone, but thanks to Operation Blessing, he did not have to. A team of volunteers had just driven from Austin to join the OBI relief efforts in Donald’s city. When they learned about his home and family, they rushed to help.

A volunteer works on gutting Donald’s home.

“I was trying to do it myself with no help and just wasn’t making any progress,” Donald said. “Then Operation Blessing showed up and things started happening pretty quick.”

An army of white T-shirts filled Donald’s home and lawn, tearing out damaged sheetrock and carpet. They carried debris to the curb and conquered the mountain of work in no time.

“To see Operation Blessing show up and do the work that they did, it gave me a sense of hope,” Donald said.

Operation Blessing is planning to stay on the ground in Texas for several more months providing relief to Hurricane Harvey victims like Donald.

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