Hurricane Harvey was an anomaly. It dumped over 50 inches of rain over four days and created catastrophic flooding in and around Houston, TX. I had the opportunity to travel with the Baptist On Mission to help set up their big field kitchen called Manna One and then spent the remainder of the week doing what we call mud outs and tear outs in the Port Arthur area. The kitchen volunteers fed about 70,000 people over 5 days and did all the cooking for the Red Cross which delivered many of the meals to shelters and neighbor locations.
My crew removed wet furniture, cabinets, carpet, sheetrock and any other things that were flooded. We were able to complete five homes, including spraying them for the fast growing mold. The whole process of taking almost all of the homeowners possessions out to the curb and then cutting and tearing out the sheetrock leaving them with nothing but bare stud walls is both traumatic and humbling to the owners. There was much hugging, holding hands, praying, photos and heartfelt thank yous when we finished and moved on to another home.
The trip to Texas took about 20 hours, and as you can imagine tiring. However knowing I had made a difference in a few families’ lives made the trip a profound life changing experience for me.
Larry D. Kingsley (OLLI Member)