Hurricane Harvey - Stories

Flores Family Story:

Dad, Mom & Katherine (2nd Grade)
On August the 26th, we had a very bad storm that hit Houston and the nearby coastal area. Hurricane Harvey was destructive. As a result, we sustained flooding in and around our home and garage.  To make matters worse, both my husband and I were not able to return to work for a week, as our places of employment were flooded. We were not earning any income during this time.
To begin with, we were already struggling to pay our bills. I work as a server at Denny’s restaurant and my husband works for Fiesta Supermarket.  Currently, my husband works at a different Fiesta location because of the flooding and construction at his original location, but it is much further away than he was accustom to driving. He uses 5 gallons of gas each day to get to and from work. A majority of money that is earned at his temporary work place is used to pay for the gas in his vehicle. This makes things extremely difficult when trying to pay for daily expenses, food, bills, and other things of necessity, all while dealing with the effects of the flooding.
Our family is needing assistance and the bills are continuously building up. Hurricane Harvey and the floods that followed have set our family back even further than we were.



Melissa - School Nurse

Here is ANOTHER REAL STORY of the Sheridan Elementary school Nurses Assistant (and her family) that your DONATIONS are helping to get back to work and back on their feet!  The story is relayed by one of our contacts on the ground at Sheridan Elementary.

Melissa (Staff Member): Melissa just joined our staff this school year; she was not working prior to her start in August because she was a stay at home mother. She rotates between 3 different campuses throughout the week serving as a nurses assistant. Her home was flooded and she lost everything. She is currently driving 1.5 hours to work each day in a car that was flooded and has since mildewed and smells very bad. Melissa is recently separated from her husband, so she is no longer receiving support from her 4 year old's father. She is living with her mother way across town from where she works. She does not know anyone on this side of town and it is her goal for her 4 year old to enroll in Pre-K in one of the schools that she works at. The problem is our Pre-K is only a half day program, which would require her daughter to go to a nearby daycare for the other 1/2 of the day. She does not know anyone on her work side of town who can care for her daughter.  Melissa is needing financial assistance to pay for daycare, and the financial assistance that comes from FEMA will not kick-in in time for her to pay for childcare expenses at the start of school on September 11th. Melissa lost everything in the flood and only has 2 pairs of clothes that she alternates through at work.

Melissa and Family Being Rescued
 Sheikkaye - 4th Grade Teacher 

    My name is Sheikkaye Lee and I am a fourth grade teacher at Sheridan Elementary in CFISD.  My family has been severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey. It only took one night of rain to flood our street and trap us within our apartment community. Our low cars couldn’t navigate the deep waters that had flooded our streets. Still, we were optimistic that we would be safe in our townhouse and although trapped, would only have to wait for the waters to recede as they had during the last flood.

Friends and family frequently checked on us, many knowing that I had only been released from the hospital a few weeks earlier for PSC (Primary Sclerosis Cholangitis), a rare autoimmune disorder that causes cirrhosis and eventual failure of the liver. My infusion which had been canceled as a result of the storm and stress could send me into another flare up but I assured them that I was keeping calm for both myself and our kids.

During a lapse in the rain the waters receded from our cars, which we had moved into our yard in an effort to save them.  However, then the news reported that they would be releasing water from the reservoirs, so the flood waters began to rise once again. My fiancé and I worked through the night moving as

many of our belongings upstairs as we could. We managed to sleep just a little.  In the morning, we woke up to see the flood waters creeping past our door step into our home and we knew that the choice to stay was no longer an option.  We would have to leave all of our possessions behind.  We each packed a bag with the essentials.  Explaining to our children why they couldn’t bring all of their favorite toys and books was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.

It was amazing and terrifying how quickly the water was rising
downstairs while we packed. Seeing the boats and jet skis navigate down our street and when witnessing the coastguard helicopter rescuing someone a few feet away from our bedroom window was surreal. We gathered our bags, looked around one last time before we locked the door, and braced ourselves to enter the now waist deep water.

We loaded the kids and the bags onto an air mattress and waded through the water past both of our submerged cars to the entrance of our community. Once there, we were rescued by the coast guard who loaded us into a truck and transported us to safety. We are currently staying with family while we sort things out.  Our home and cars remain underwater and we have been told that it may be weeks before we are able to return. Although we have lost all of our belongings and this will be a difficult journey to recovery, we were blessed to have all made it out safely.

Stephanie -  Elementary Specialist

"Stephanie Cass is an Instructional Specialist at Sheridan Elementary school in Katy Texas.   Stephanie is such a sweet, kind, genuine person.  She will go out of her way to help and offer assistance or anything that you may need.  She goes above and beyond for her colleagues as well as her friends." - Kelsey Richvalsky Demarce

This is Stephanie’s experience from Hurricane Harvey

I've always been one for adventure but this was like no other. Monday, August 28th, was supposed to be the first day of a new school year for this teacher.  Instead, the night before, I stared out my front and back doors to see water creeping up to an inch under my doorsteps. The garage where my car was parked had already begun to fill. We had been watching the news on Hurricane Harvey 24/7 since Friday while praying for the best.  Nervous, we pulled out our tandem kayak and tied it off in the backyard just in case. The relentless rain didn't stop for a second.

Our house began flooding Monday around noon. We had to make a decision fast; stay put like
authorities kept repeating on the news or try to evacuate. We knew that so many people across Houston needed rescuing and we were fully capable of helping ourselves. We grabbed a backpack with essential toiletries, two changes of clothes, a few items from our wallets, some
water, and a 4 lb shaking Chihuahua. We loaded up and kayaked from our back door through the streets of our once dry neighborhood. The wind was blowing and rain falling hard as we passed several civilians coming in with their personal boats to rescue other neighbors. Many neighbors thought we were there to rescue them. It was so hard to pass them by in our two person boat.

After about a mile, we reached the Buffalo Bayou- meant to be the drainage for Houston to the gulf. There was no way we could kayak over the rushing currents spilling over the banks. Our saving grace: a jeep with a boat trailer surrounded by civilians who were obviously rescuing others. They insisted we load up in their jeep and tie our kayak down to their boat. With water filled boots, I climbed in the jeep scared to death as the overflowing bayou water rushed under the jeep almost reaching the door. I prayed hard for God to protect these rescuers and the families now piling into the boat and jeep with us. Those ten minutes seemed like forever. Our guardian angel then drove us slowly over the bayou's bridge. When we made it to the other side that was still engulfed withrushing water, I silently broke down. I didn't want to scare the other kids in the car. My dog was shaking in my lap.

These men had risked their lives and ruined their jeep and boat to save strangers! How selfless. Soon after, a relative picked us up at a higher intersection. We've been staying with them ever since. It is now Saturday and all we know is our house and neighborhood still have a couple feet of toxic standing water. We haven't begun to comprehend all that was lost. We are so thankful for our neighbors all being rescued and for those that have helped us along the way. Although we have lost everything except what we carried on our backs, we have gained so much more. As a state, as a city, as a neighborhood, and as a family. I have seen so much light in this dark situation.

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