Hurricane Harvey Victims Grateful for Texas-Sized Help

September 20, 2017 • United States

Volunteers in Rockport, Texas, offer hope in Jesus Christ to families struggling after Hurricane Harvey.

Volunteers in Rockport clear debris from the Reeves' yard.

Volunteers in Rockport clear debris from the Reeves’ yard.

Every hour, Britnie and her father Ira watched the latest weather report and then they waited. When the next hour rolled around—which seemed to take forever—they tuned in again for an update on Hurricane Harvey’s projected path.

Britnie and Ira Reeves watched and waited as long as they could. They prayed the monster storm would spare Rockport, Texas, but when it seemed to be headed straight for them, they finally evacuated just hours before it was too late.

“We were freaking out trying to think of everything we needed to take with us,” Britnie said. “What we didn’t take, we worried wouldn’t be here when we came back.”

Britnie, 23, had never experienced anything like the relentless force of Hurricane Harvey.

“The storm came on so quickly and we were very scared. We thought it couldn’t happen here—but it did.”

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A Father and Daughter Need Help

Nearly every home on Britnie and Ira’s street was damaged. Harvey’s winds were so strong that they pushed the house about six inches, causing the walls to bow. The floors buckled underneath floodwaters and huge trees were uprooted.

Ira and the volunteers who worked on his home.

Ira and the volunteers who worked on his home.

“The house doesn’t feel safe,” Britnie said.

Britnie helped her father clean up inside and outside every day after the hurricane. They worked hard, but eventually the overwhelming mess proved too much for them to handle.

Ira was relieved the morning a group of Samaritan’s Purse volunteers came to their house to help remove yard debris and cut up fallen trees. “We were so happy when we saw the orange shirts,” he said.

Ira served in the Navy for 24 years and has a number of injuries related to his service, including both knees and his back. He also struggles to manage diabetes and high blood pressure.

“We were so happy when we saw the orange shirts.”

As much as Ira wanted to take care of the hurricane cleanup himself, injuries and health concerns wouldn’t allow it. Ira and Britnie are grateful to our volunteers for coming to help them during a time when they didn’t know what to do.

Britnie said she is also grateful that in the midst of a terrifying storm, God spared their lives.

“We have each other—we’re blessed.”

One Step Closer to Normal

About three years ago, Lindsey Craig gave up her job in New York City to help her mom run the family business. Her dad had just died and Lindsey knew she couldn’t leave her mom alone.

Lindsey Craig receives a Bible signed by all the volunteers who worked on her home.

Lindsey Craig receives a Bible signed by all the volunteers who worked on her home.

Lindsey, 30, grew up in Rockport. Her parents have lived in the same house for 45 years, which made it even harder to come home to Harvey’s damage. Their yard was full of debris and downed trees, fences were destroyed, and the roof needed tarping.

The same day that Samaritan’s Purse volunteers helped the Reeves, they also worked across the street at the Craigs’ home.

“You have no idea what it means to see a group like this at your house,” Lindsey said. “It’s one step closer to life returning to normal.”

Lindsey has held steadfast to her faith in Jesus through the storm. She prays that her continued trust in Jesus through these trials will encourage her mom, who is not a Christian, but whose heart is slowly becoming more open to God.

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“It’s all part of God’s plan,” Lindsey said. “I’ve been my mom’s testimony—she needed to watch someone walk out [their faith].”

Lindsey and our volunteers prayed together at the day’s end, and Lindsey asked for their continued support.

“Please continue praying for us. People will still be cleaning up for weeks to come.”

First-Time Volunteers Give Back

Joseph Solik drove more than 1,000 miles from Wisconsin to Rockport to help struggling families because he knows what it’s like to need some help after a devastating storm.

Joseph Solik came from Wisconsin to serve distressed Texas families.

Joseph Solik came from Wisconsin to serve distressed Texas families.

A few months ago, Joseph had more than five feet of water in his basement and a foot of sand in the backyard. A slow-moving weather system dumped about eight inches of rain in some areas of southwestern Wisconsin.

“Two rivers come together on my property—I was at Ground Zero,” Joseph said. “I couldn’t leave for three days.”

Jenny Koselak removes damaged carpet from a home in Rockport.

Jenny Koselak removes damaged carpet from a home in Rockport.

Samaritan’s Purse volunteers were a welcomed sight for a weary family. “They tore out drywall and sprayed for mold—they worked tirelessly,” Joseph said.

Joseph appreciated the work of our volunteers so much that he joined the orange shirt army in Texas. “I felt compelled to come and do what I can,” he said. “It’s a new adventure.”

Jenny Koselak is another first-time U.S. Disaster Relief volunteer. Her favorite part of volunteering in Rockport was the opportunity to demonstrate God’s love to hurting families.

Jenny, a nurse, has also served with Samaritan’s Purse in northern Iraq as a nurse in our Emergency Field Hospital. “I’ve always loved being able to help people,” she said.

We praise God for the volunteers like Jenny and Joseph who are serving in Jesus’ Name across southeastern Texas. Please pray for the many homeowners our volunteers are serving. Pray that many people would come to faith in Jesus Christ.

Volunteers pray every morning before beginning work. Please pray for God to continue sending volunteers to Texas to serve in Jesus' Name.

Volunteers pray every morning before beginning work. Please pray for God to continue sending volunteers to Texas to serve in Jesus’ Name.

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Hurricane Relief Samaritan's Purse
Hurricane Relief Samaritan's Purse responds to the urgent needs of families devastated by the wind, rain, and storm surge of catastrophic hurricanes. Whether in the United States or abroad, we come alongside hurting people to bring emergency relief and practical help in the Name of Jesus Christ.

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