Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Flood Part 4: Shelter Living

As I stated before, we were moved from the gym to the church building.  I will admit, this was much more comfortable.  There was even a coffee bar that we used and drank cappuccino!  This is a pic of our shelter buddies.  This sweet family lives in our neighborhood and walked into the shelter about 30 minutes after we did.  We were so happy to see each other.  Chris and Nikki have 4 boys and adopted a precious little girl a couple of years ago.  

Do you see the big guy on the left?  That's Chris.  Do you see the Mickey Mouse crocs he has on his feet?  Bryce wore those crocs out of our house.  Those shoes belong to Cade's friend, Gideon.  Bryce just saw them at the house and put them on because of the water.  I have NO IDEA what Gideon had on his feet!  I think he had some hunting boots, but I'm not sure.  Bryce was smart enough to pack his tennis shoes in his backpack so when we got to the shelter, we had an extra pair of shoes.  When Chris and Nikki showed up, Nikki had a bag packed with an unbelievable amount of things.  Chris had 2 very nice watches on his arms...but had NO shoes!  He took the crocs because there was no telling where we would end up in all of this, and shoes are a little more important than watches ;)  I know this story doesn't sound very interesting to everyone, but I have to say, I have laughed at the thought of those crocs many many times.

You might notice that their family has towels and a blanket.

and my family does not! lol...  I didn't know....I know now!

I am not a dog crazy person, but I'm just going to tell you..I think we have the best dog in the world.  There were hundreds of animals at this shelter.  Hazel never barked, never ran off, she was just happy to be with us.

Nikki and the masagers she had packed in her bag!  She also had essential oils, a gallon of milk, and a boston butt roast!!!!!  I am not lying!  It was impressive!!

Arrington and I roamed the halls and took selfies in the wee hours of the morning.

I also had phone service in the middle of the night.  I started texting people at 2:30 in the morning.  My poor dad must have been sleeping with his phone because he answered me right away.  I was getting worried that the water was still rising and they might need to evacuate from their house.  I had just given them 5 children to be responsible for!!  He assured me that he did not expect to flood, and thankfully they did not.

I called Gideon's mom to let her know where her son was!  Gideon is really just like one of mine, but I know Karen was stressed.  She mentioned that they had a neighbors boat and paddles and would come to get us.  OH HECK NO!!  I had just gotten off the most terrifying boat ride of my life!  There was no way I was doing that again!!  

Morning came.  We realized we were literally on an island.  The church was completely surrounded by water.

Throughout the day, the coast guard and national guard started evacuating our shelter by helicopter.  Because we didn't have anyone older, or a baby, or someone sick...we would be there a while.  Because of this, I was able to meet some incredibly brave people.

Around noon, a woman was brought to the church.  She was shaking terribly and her skin was in horrible shape.  She was soaking wet.  My friend, Karen (screaming on the porch Karen) is a cardiologist so she was caring for people who needed medical attention.  She started asking this woman what happened.  This woman had spent the entire night floating in the water while holding on to a piece of wood.  She had finally come across a flooded truck and had gotten in the back of it.  She stayed there until a boat came by and found her.  I cannot even imagine...  Karen had a medical helo come get her but she did not want to go.  She told Karen that she had just lost everything she owned and that her deductible would be $6700.  She said she would rather just die.  Karen got her on that helicopter.  I won't ever find out what happened to that woman, but I will never forget her!

Around 3:00, Karen and her family were loaded on a helicopter and brought out.  She left me a sheet, pillow and blanket which I was very happy to have!  Not long after that, I see another family walk into the church, soaking wet.  There was a very young mom holding onto a 7 month old.  I immediately walked over to see if I could help.  Someone found some tshirts in the church to give this family but no pants.  I went to my bag and grabbed a pair of nike shorts and that blanket Karen had left.  I asked the mom if I could hold her baby while she went to change.  I assured her that I would be standing right there when she came back.  I wrapped that baby in that blanket and wondered what their story was.  A little while later, I went and sat by this mom and asked her how long they had walked.  She didn't really know but said there were parts that were up to her chest.  They walked towards the church but got stuck in a field.  It was pouring down rain at the time.  The helicopters were flying overhead and they got the attention of one pilot.  He radioed that there was a family who needed help.  They must have been standing in that field for at least an hour.

The most surprising and touching part of our conversation started with this comment by her.  "I don't know how y'all do it".  I asked her to explain and she said, "I don't know how you moms do this with little kids."  I then took that opportunity to make sure that she knew that she is one of those moms.  I said, "Oh my goodness, you ARE that mom!  You just walked for hours through floods and rain and you made it.  You got your baby here safe.  You are that mom!"  It was such a sweet moment because I know the reality of what she had just done had not sunk in yet.

I will share that the reason she touched me so much is when she was standing there with no dry bottoms to change into, it brought me right back to 11 years ago when we had to run out of our burning house in the middle of the night.  I had on a big tshirt and panties.  One of my neighbors, who I really didn't know, brought me some shorts to put on.  I have never forgotten that moment.  I was thrilled to be able to pay that moment forward.

The hours passed.  There were funny moments.  I had to help a woman trap her cat so she could get it back in her crate.  This was done out of pure self preservation!  Cats are MEAN...just saying!!  I found out that one family had brought a ferret with them!  I was in the bathroom and noticed a woman washing her little dog's feet.  When I asked her about it, I realized the dog had stepped in ants and had them all over her paws.  I sat there in the bathroom with her, picking hundreds of ants off this little dog.  Then went and got one of my benedryl for the poor thing!!   
Chris and Nikki flew out because they had a baby, but it was getting darker and there were still quite a few of us left.  Then these drove up:

We really wanted to fly on that helicopter but decided that this was our best bet to get out of there.  I did not realize that we were about to embark on another wild ride!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story! I'm a long time reader and have been thinking about your family and hoping for the best through this ordeal!

Anonymous said...

Hi- I've followed your blog for years. I am so sorry your family has been thru this and I'm happy to see you are all okay. I had to laugh that the woman you knew had a massager and butt roast! So funny!😂 I'm sure it provided some humor in a stressful situation. I have a High school junior who is very interested in Lsu because of marching band - so I always look to see if you are posting any updates about your sons experience there. I hope you are all dong well now and back home. I'll keep you all in my prayers here in California. Take care and I hope you return to blogging more regularly😊 - carrie

Anonymous said...

I am so in awe of the stories of selflessness and bavery that you are telling. Is there anyway that I can donate to help families that have lost everything??

Mary said...

It's hard to even imagine what you are going through. I hope that things are getting better, but I'm sure that it's going to be a long road. You have such a wonderful attitude about it all. Makes me realize that I have nothing to complain about. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...


Haven't read your blog in a few years. Just checked and saw this post. I am so sorry you and family had such a hard time.
Praying you are doing better.

In Christ,


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