In 2008 Hurricane Ike hit our home. I remember hearing about the storm developing out in the gulf, and at the time – no one was worried about it. So, while I was in our garage doing my daily work out before I went to work, I felt God telling me that this storm was going to be devastating and that I needed to prepare. I hadn’t been used to feeling led that strongly before, at least at that point in my walk with God; but I took that warning seriously and began preparing for it – I even remember telling my Dad to get ready and he told me it wasn’t anything to worry about. My husband was working in Iraq when the storm did hit. I made our sons (at the time they were 6 and 9) sleep downstairs in our master closet and I was thinking I would just sleep in our bed that night, but when our windows began to shake and rattle, I decided – nope, I’ll join them in the closet with our dog.
I remember waking up and thinking, dang, did I knock over my water bottle, since my clothes were now wet. That was when I realized, something wasn’t right. When I got out of our room, the stairway had water just running down it. The roof was exposed and water was just pouring in. I walked outside and thankfully, I didn’t see any damage to any of our neighbors. We were at the end of the road, with only trees to the side of us, our two story seemed to have gotten the brunt of the storm as most of our shingles were all over the yard. I really didn’t know what to do or expect, but I called my husband as soon as I could get a signal to let him know that we were okay, but the house wasn’t. He wanted to come home, but I told him no, I was sure I could take care of everything on my own.
Since there wasn’t a lot of damage in our county [compared to our present day flooding], the biggest issue then, was no power for two weeks. I was pretty much on my own for the ordeal (at least that’s how I felt). I kept a folder with everything that I bought, noted every expense, mileage driven, photographs galore (mind you, still before social media and cell phones had morphed into their present day venues of communication) and even when we finally did get an insurance claim adjuster – he ended up getting fired from the company because of his inability to help any of his customers (did I mention the conman roof repairman and my fight over a blue tarp). After all the record keeping, and insurance debacle, I decided that I needed to just get stuff done on my own – so I removed all the ruined carpet and furniture myself. A month later we got an approved claim and funding for a temporary apartment, plus a contractor to take care of our home repairs. The repairs took almost 4 months, it wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t an impossible time.
Now we just went through Hurricane Harvey in our new home and we didn’t even lose power, you can imagine how I almost felt guilty knowing that most of our county and surrounding areas has experienced devastating flooding and we’re fine. We’ve been blessed to live in a community where there are more volunteers than need and everyone is trying to help their neighbors or strangers. Social media has improved so much since Hurricane Ike; that we’ve been able to see needs across the country, as well as people offering their services. Even though we’ve volunteered locally, I’ve felt led to create a Facebook group to put all the information that I’ve seen out there in one place. This group is for people who either want to help others and/or those needing help. I’ve got information posted from how to file for assistance from FEMA, to how to clean your clothes to remove the flood ‘funk’ from your laundry, and where to find information for lost/found pets from the storm. In my experience as an IT help desk and programmer, I know how to verify the authenticity before sharing information and since I’ve seen a lot of fake posts, I’m hoping my knowledge can be helpful to others. Please feel free to share the group with your friends or anyone you know who might need help or want to help: Harvey Recovery Information