We live in Cypress, Texas which is a suburb of Houston, Texas and located on the northwestern part of town. Hurricane Harvey hit last week and completely devastated the greater Houston area as well as towns to the south and east of us.
Why was it so devastating?
Normally when a hurricane comes through, it makes landfall and moves on. It will turn into a tropical storm and keep moving. Harvey was different. Imagine a rain cloud staying over Houston and surrounding area for several days. I couldn’t get over that it started raining….and raining….and then more raining. For almost three days straight, it rained for almost 24 hours a day.
My family was very lucky that the rain caused our street to flood but the rain only made it half way up our driveway. We were VERY fortunate. I read one report that stated over 100,000 homes in the Houston area were impacted. (Just know that those who don’t flood will ultimately have survivors guilt and will find ways to help to make up for the fact that we didn’t flood).
On Friday night, our family decided to go out for Mexican food to prepare for Harvey. All of the news stations were reporting that it would be huge so we went out because we didn’t know when we would get out again.
On Saturday we received a warning that a tornado was in the area. Brad, Charlotte, Will and I headed to a room with no windows. Will took his gaming stuff and we hunkered down. At some point we heard a loud whistle. The tornado flew threw our neighborhood and down our street. Our neighbors across the road received roof and fence damage. Thankfully everyone was ok.
Throughout the day and night, we received tornado and flash flood warnings.
On Sunday morning the rain started and it didn’t stop. Our neighborhood FART Team mobilized and were the heroes of the storm!
Yes, you read that right. Our neighborhood of Towne Lake has a FART Team. This is not a joke….well it started out as a joke….sort of.
Towne Lake FART (Fast Action Response Team)
There was a guy in the neighborhood, Steven L. who thought it would be fun to coin the term FART (Fast Action Response Team). He joked about it with the men’s group and even created a FART Facebook page. He invited a few people to the page.
The men’s group continued to joke about FART.
Some ladies and men in the neighborhood complained that there wasn’t one Facebook page that both the men and women could both be on (the women’s and men’s group each had their own page).
Towne Lake residents Randi K. and her husband David K. decided to create this page for both sexes to be on. They thought it would be funny to call it FART because of the ongoing joke.
They invited residents to join and the membership grew and grew.
The community used it as a fun page to joke around about things but also bring light to things that needed addressing. If someone saw something that needed addressing, they would post it on FART. (Ex: If a kid got stranded on the lake, someone would post on FART and one of the residents would go rescue the kid; If vandalism occurred, neighbors on FART would encourage each other to look at their cameras).
Fast forward to Harvey
As water was rising, it was very apparent that two things were desperately needed:
1) tall trucks
There were several hundred of people who needed rescuing from their homes.
Towne Lake F.A.R.T stepped up to the plate. Over 75 men volunteered to spend days rescuing people from their homes. After the rescues, the men and ladies from the neighborhood gathered for the next phase: clean up
F.A.R.T organized themselves to feed the community (volunteers and people who were flooded) and to help tear out sheetrock and flooring from affected homes. The homes in Towne Lake were spared from water but the surrounding communities were not. The Towne Lake residents all said “This could be us. We need to help.”
The one thing that Hurricane Harvey did was bring everyone together. No one cared what race you were, what ethnicity you were, and what socioeconomic group you were in. We were fellow Americans helping each other. If you ask anyone that participated in the aftermath of Harvey, they will tell you that their faith in humanity has been restored.
There are too many people to mention in this blog. Thank you to the Towne Lake residents for the countless hours of helping your neighbors out. Someone would post on the FART page “My mom lives in the Woodlands and needs help. Can someone help? Several people would immediately respond, I am on my way.” It was amazing. Thank you so much for the people of the Houston and surrounding area (and the communities affected) for all of your work helping others. Finally, thank you SO much for the rest of the world. Countless people from around the world prayed for the families affected, sent money, and offered support. You guys cannot know how wonderful you are. I had family friends contact me and say “My community wants to help, what can we do?”
The Cajun Navy
Of course my people, the Cajuns, came to the rescue!!!! It was amazing seeing the boats and people from Louisiana coming to help Texas!
My sister told me that her daughter’s Catholic school in Scott, Louisiana was sponsoring the Catholic school in Rockport, Texas. My good friend Alyssa couldn’t believe it! That was where she attended!!!!
-Too many to count or mention…I will say as Houstonian’s….we just LOVE LOVE LOVE us some JJ Watt and Mattress Mack.
-The fallen first responders who gave their lives to help our community
-The volunteers who have perished helping others
I am going to end the blog with some advice and funny things witnessed in this tragedy (because sometimes you have to make light of things to get through them).
- Get flood insurance, even if you are not in a flood zone.
- If a hurricane is headed your way, fill your car with gas, and stock up on water and groceries BEFORE the panic and everything is gone.
- If you think you may flood, prop your furniture on rubbermaid containers or bricks.
- You should turn off the electricity if there is water still on the floor and you are tearing out sheetrock.
- Buy a generator if you can.
- Stock up on bread and eggs (The grocery stores ran out of these items!!!!)
- Find your comfort zone and go for it. Maybe you don’t want strangers in your home, but you LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to cook. Do something to make a difference that is a win-win.
- Once the police and fire departments are at the scene, steer clear and let them do their jobs. Everyone has big hearts and want to help, but sometimes you have to let the professionals do their jobs!
- As Mr. Rogers Said “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”
- Take this experience and make it a positive one. We have made life long friends from this! We are so thankful for our new friends! (Kathryn, Jon, Caleb, Melissa, and cousin Kyle:)
Funny observations from various people
- A bra landed in my backyard. I have not yet identified the owner.
- Flood victims being rescued and the people in the boat serving shots of tequila to make things a little better for the rescued people.
- If your phone goes off and says there is a tornado warning, and then right after says there is a flash flood, do you just stand in the middle of the stairs?”
- My husband’s keys floated down the river and were grabbed by an evacuee…then I accidentally dropped my keys in an evacuee’s bag and they were returned! My husband and I need a special piercing to attach your keys!
- There was a hot tub in a living room with low ceilings. “How did you guys get the hot tub in your living room? The doors are small?” “ We put it in there when we built the house in the 1970’s before the framing and bricks. We need to have someone cut it in many pieces to get it out.
Our question for you is this: Who do you want to thank or plug for being wonderful in this event? What advice for you do you have?
Our sweet friend Veronique designed this amazing shirt where 100 percent proceeds go to help victims. If you would like a shirt, please order from this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/towne-lake-hurricane-harvey-t-shirt-relief-fundraiser-tickets-37471179306
The BEST PICTURE EVER taken from a Towne Lake resident
Do you want to help?
I know that when I give money, I want the money to go straight to the people who need it the most. There are so many great people who are trying to get money straight to the people. I will mention two (but I know there are a million more so please comment on this post to let everyone know what they are).
- JJ Watt has promised that he will get the money he raises to go straight to the people who need it the most. I believe him. https://www.youcaring.com/victimsofhurricaneharvey-915053
- Our church, Christ the Redeemer is doing an amazing job getting help directly to the people who need it the most now (and not just Catholics…everyone). If you donate here, I can assure you that 100 percent of your money is going directly to help (now) a family in need. https://ctrcc.com/floodhelp