Sunday, May 3, 2009

Galveston, Here I Come!

My mission trip to Galveston is getting closer....I can't wait! I'm leading a group of 12 volunteers back to Galveston. We will leave next Saturday, driving 12 hours straight south. We’ll stay and work for a week, helping in the reconstruction effort. Why are we going?

On September 13, 2008, Hurricane Ike slammed into the tiny island of Galveston off of the Texas coast. The hurricane struck the island as a Category 2 storm – but the subsequent storm surge and flooding damaged more than 75% of the 57,500 residents’ homes.

I was deployed with the American Red Cross to Texas to assist in the disaster response immediately after Ike. Initially, Galveston was so damaged that no one – not even the residents – were being allowed on the island. I was first sent to Port Arthur, Texas, where I stayed and worked at a Baptist church in the area. The kitchen was set up here, and I was the “yard dog” – I managed the ERV trucks and drivers as they delivered hot meals, snacks and water to the residents of Port Arthur.

After a week, Port Arthur was up and running – electricity had been restored, the restaurants were all back in business, and it was time to shut down the Red Cross kitchen. Galveston had just reopened.

So – myself and several other volunteers were then reassigned to Galveston. We were among a group of several hundred other Red Cross volunteers, stationed on the tarmac of Scholes International Airport, sleeping in a giant FEMA tent. Once there, I was assigned a truck to drive and I assembled a crew, and we would go out twice a day – for lunch and dinner – delivering hot meals. I was assigned the neighborhood between 55th and 57th Street, south of Broadway – it was about 10-12 blocks – and I really got to know the residents very well. We were on a first name basis – seeing them twice a day for two weeks. We would talk, we’d laugh, we’d cry, we’d share stories – it was a wonderful assignment. DeeDee and me...October 2008

After three weeks, it was time for me to go home and be with my own family again. It was VERY difficult saying good-bye to my Galveston family – all of the people I had met, both clients and volunteers. I vowed I would come back.

In November 2008, I did go back – packed up my hubby and daughter and spent a long weekend on the island. I was amazed at the recovery process - but I could see they still had a long ways to go to get back to where they were before Hurricane Ike. It was heartwarming to revisit the residents in “my” neighborhood – they were shocked, to say the least, to see that I really did return. We went out to dinner and reconnected with several families there. My daughter, Mikayla, became "BFF's" with DeeDee, a girl that I had gotten close to during my first trip while on assignment. DeeDee and Mikayla - November 2008

Upon returning home in November, I began feeling called to lead a mission trip there. And hence – we’re going! To say I’m excited about going back is an understatement. I am counting the days to when I can revisit my neighborhood and see “my” people again – it will be a family reunion in Galveston!

I'll be sure to post on what transpires during our trip, as well as post some photos. Should be a lot of fun, and we should be doing some good (God's) work while we're there.

Be sure to do YOUR part today to change the world - one day at a time, one action at a time. Go on a mission trip somewhere - or pray for a missionary....


1 comment:

Veronica Hugger said...

Thank you for coming to Galveston to help our community rebuild! Our home did not flood, but we relied on the help of the American Red Cross and Salvation Army and other volunteers, especially those first few days back on the Island. Wait 'til you see how we've come back! Check out my site, for some photos. I would love to invite you over for a glass of wine!