Kent Sims shares his experience last weekend as a member of the Emergency Response Team. You can help by donating blood on October 1 at our American Red Cross blood drive.
Not knowing what to expect, we struck out for locations given to us by a woman named Heather at FUMC in Victoria, TX. We arrived close to 5 pm on Thursday, September 7th.
Our first stop with people at home was at Adan's house who had requested some assistance. Of course our timing was great as we interrupted his family's supper, which they were having under the carport and surrounded by piled up furniture from inside the house. Of course Adan was a little hesitant, as anyone would be, when we first arrived and did not have our IDs or identifying tee shirts on at this point. He had several young grandchildren, a son and others there totaling 6-8 people. We visited a little and set up our time to return the next day for work. On this short trip around to Adan's and other places we might help out at we had not taken time to put on our "bounce" sheets or spray our arms with mosquito repellent, which were thick, so our visits were short.
We arrived at Adan's house at 8 am just as he was returning from his church with his Bible in his hands. Adan was a very engaging man and warmed up to us, as we did to him, immediately. He shared with us a few stories throughout the day as we removed more furniture, carpet, padding and other belongings from his home, as well as a lot of broken limbs blown into his yard from all over the neighborhood.
His first story was when he went through another flood in the same house, (this was the third flood at this house for him) and how an old Bible, that he picked up as he spoke, had been in the first flood and obviously this one too. In the first flood he had laid it on a small bedside table the night before the waters started to rise in the house around 4 am the next morning. He wanted just to throw himself across the doorway to try and block the flood waters from coming in but knew that would not help. He grabbed what valuables he could and waded out. After the flood which reached some 5 feet in his house that time, he came back in and found his Bible still sitting on the small short table but it was upright on top of the mattress and other debris in the center of the room and completely dry.
He said "That's a God thing" and he related other things such as that through the day. During this and other stories he would stop a time or two to wipe back the tears, not from a loss of things, but from the Love of God he saw in sights revealed during the turmoil.
We cleaned the debris from the yard and cut down a broken tree and moved all of it along with ruined furniture, carpet and pad to the street for pick up. We found a recently mowed yard under the debris that had been been dumped over the fence from the winds of Harvey. Adan's spirit, he was always smiling and talking, was such a blessing during this short day that we were there, that we wished we could have done more. When Clay gave him a prayer shawl at the end of the day from our church, it took him a while to hold back the tears before he could speak, but when he did it was very gracious, and humbling for me to hear him.
You can continue to help with Hurricane Harvey relief by donating blood at our next American Red Cross blood drive on October 1. With the recent disasters, they are in desperate need of donations.