A personal experience with Hurricane Harvey

FAMILIES FROM ROCKPORT, TEXAS visit the rubble of their demolished homes. Courtesy Photo, CNN.com

Being from Texas, it was super hard to hear about and watch Hurricane Harvey slam Texas as bad as it did.

I was devastated watching the news on TV and reading the articles about the hurricane and being unable to help out in any way due to my college courses.

If I had been able to, I would’ve headed to Houston, Tex. to help out in one of the many shelters. To be there for those who just need to talk or help with the children when the parents need a break.

Houston, Tex. became like a second home to my family and me back in 2013. My mom was there almost all the time for nine months being treated at MD Anderson Cancer Center. So, my dad, sister and I went back and forth from Houston and my hometown about three hours from there on the weekends to be with my mom. 

To know that the streets that we traveled on a weekly basis were underwater was so devastating. 

I am hundreds of miles away and am not able to help out, it drove me nuts. I cried a lot when I saw the news of the devastation in Houston on the TV and prayed that everyone would be alright. 

About 400 miles south of Houston in a town called Alamo, my grandparents, who are originally from the Wichita area, braced themselves for the impact. 

They refused to leave their home and belongs. After Hurricane Harvey hit near them, I waited to hear news from my parents to know if my grandma and grandpa were alright. 

Days passed, which was extremely hard because I was 900 miles away, I had no idea if they were hit hard or not at all. Luckily for my family, we got the good news that they did not. 

Unfortunately for many families, they didn’t get that good news. Hurricane Harvey claimed 82 lives. Some of these 82 lives that were claimed included: The Saldivar Family: Belia Rojas Saldivar, 81, and Manuel Saldivar, 84, along with their great-grandchildren Devorah, 16; Dominic, 14; Xavier Adam, 8; and Daisy, 6; Ruben Jordan, 58; Alexander Kwoksum Sung, 64; Sgt. Steve Perez, 60; Joshua Feuerstein, 33; Donald, 65, and Rochelle Rogers, 58; Agnes Stanley, 89; Lisa Jones, 60; Travis Lynn Callihan, 45;  Colette Sulcer; Batool Qasem, 76; Jorge Raul Perez, 33; Yahi Rubio-Vizuet, 45; Andrew Pasek, 25; and Ronald Zaring, 82.

Alexander Kwoksum Sung, 64, drowned inside his clock repair business. The last thing he texted his daughter Alicia Contreras, was telling her he loved her. The next day, his body was found in the flooded shop.

Colette Sulcer and her young daughter were in Beaumont when the first responders found them, Sulcer was unresponsive with her child clinging to her. A citizen with a truck helped transport the mother, daughter and first responders through flooded streets to a ambulance. Sulcer died but her daughter survived.

It’s so easy for those who are not affected by natural disasters to forget, but for those who are it’s like our lives revolve around it. If you are ever in place to help those affected, you should help. Even if it’s just your time and not money or supplies, those affected would be so grateful. 

This story first appeared in the September 28, 2017 issue of The Vantage.