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Portraits of Hurricane Harvey

Portraits of Hurricane Harvey
Over the course of a few days, Hurricane Harvey dumped 33 trillion gallons of water over Texas and Louisiana. They called it a one-thousand year flood, unprecedented in scale, leaving everyone in its path affected. As I was coming to grips with the reality of my own flooded home, I knew I wasn't the only one going through a time of trial and loss. So I reached out. I asked friends and family, new acquaintances and strangers, to share with us how the storm impacted their lives. These are their stories.
Jennifer and Luis
Flood Victims
“If you go watch a movie where all this devastation happens you get to walk out of the theater when it’s over with a sense of relief, knowing it’s not real. For us, our lives have turned in to a movie. A really bad movie, and we don’t get to just walk out."
Flood Victim
"In the past, I’ve found myself trying to hold on to what I’ve known, to stay in a place that feels comfortable and safe. But then Harvey hit. And the water from the bayou just kept rising. We watched our cars fill with water and knew our house was next. There were hours of not knowing what our lives were going to look like because of that storm. Now I'm in a season where I'm learning so much about embracing the unknown."
Rescuer from Austin
“If you strip the politics away and get down to the events and situations and people, all of a sudden agreement happens. We are all chilled out in our comfort with our little phone thingies, and that’s when we are throwing rocks. But when stuff hits the fan it’s like all of that is forgotten and we just help each other. Facebook is cool but I can’t eat it, it won’t hug me, it won’t pull me out of a house, ya know?”
Crowd Source Rescue co-founder
“When I went to bed Sunday night we had 250 rescue requests. I woke up Monday morning and we had over 3,000. I started freaking out. I just kicked the hornet’s nest and couldn't save any of those people. I was calling them and I could hear the terror in their voice. I started losing my mind. Then a panic attack. Next thing I know, this guy calls with a thick Cajun accent and says ‘We have 40 boats heading your way. Where do you want them?’ I sat in my chair and just cried and thought, ‘I think we’re actually going to save some people with this.’”

Crowd Source Rescue co-founder
“We ran ourselves ragged for weeks. It was an emotional roller coaster for all of us: so up and down and freaking crazy. We spent the majority of the time in business operations mode just trying to solve the next problem, do the next task. If we sat and tried to emotionally connect with every single person we interacted with, nothing was going to get done. We tried to do our best to say ‘thank you so much for what you are doing’ to our first responders or when we were talking to someone that needed a rescue, ‘we know this is scary, somebody is on the way, hold tight, we’re praying for you.’”
“The first week after the storm, I was running on pure adrenaline. In this second week, a deep tiredness has set in. But we have to keep going. There’s still so much to do. And we can’t all do the demolition work, some of us have to help in any way we can. My wife and kids cooked meals and brought them to first responders. One man cried. He said he hadn’t had a hot meal since the last time he was with his family, in their home that was completely under water, in two weeks.”

“I think a lot of times, especially when you haven’t been physically impacted, you can really struggle with survivor's guilt. Like ‘oh man why didn’t that happen to me.’ But we can’t let ourselves get caught up in that. Because if we do that, we’re taking away from what has gone on with the people that are walking through tremendous amounts of loss. The greatest thing I can do is to have compassion and empathy for the people that are walking through so much. So for me, the best thing and the most important thing I could possibly be doing is continuing to mother my two young daughters and then help out in anyway that I possibly can.”
Insurance Adjuster
“My home in Beaumont is still twelve feet under water. I know we have to start over. I could shed a tear over that reality, but there’s still so many people out there that need my help."
Flood Victim and Volunteer
"My house has four feet of water in it and won't be empty for two weeks. In the Marines, I learned to get stuff done no matter what the circumstances are. So I’m out here helping other people muck their homes."
Flood Victim and Donee
"Ever since Harvey I’ve had less and less jobs. People aren’t calling me to come help. I had a little car that got flooded and is now stranded. I’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes. I have food stamps but they are almost gone. And my landlord was going to evict me. There’s been some depression with all of that. I’ve been praying to God just trying to figure out what I'm going to do. That’s why I started looking for help. This is the first time in my life where I’ve had to ask for help. To receive this help, I truly am grateful from the bottom of my heart."
Relief Effort Coordinator
"We will get through this with a unified effort of loving people the way we would want someone else to love us."
Jennifer, Luis, and Vivianna
Flood Victims
"It marks every part of your being when something like this happens. What has helped us in this is truly understanding the character of God. Knowing who He is and that He makes all things good. He’s not going to leave us stranded. We truly cling on to that anticipation and the truth that God is working in the midst of this devastation. And so it makes us excited. Even though we don’t know what that is. It’s going to be something good, right Vivi?”

Portraits of Hurricane Harvey

Portraits of Hurricane Harvey

Over the course of a few days, Hurricane Harvey dumped 33 trillion gallons of water over Texas and Louisiana. They called it a one-thousand year Read More