Today's crew had a much easier day. We were sent to two homes, both of whom had already removed their soaked carpet.
The first house was another couple in their 70's but they had family who had been helping them with cleanup for 3 days. No raw sewage anymore - thankfully. They needed help getting things in boxes and removed from rooms so they could remove drywall. The owner asked me to pack up her dresser. As I lowered her underwear and socks into boxes, I felt so bad for her having strangers handling her intimate things. Other drawers were filled with momentos from her children and from her years as a school teacher. I was so glad for her that the water had not reached the drawers and they were safe and dry.
As we help people, one thing is always the same. They are often at a loss about what to do. They're a bit dazed and doing their best to just put one foot in front of another. And one thing that always amazes me is that they don't complain. They tell me stories about certain items. "This was my mother's porcelain powder dish..." Or "These were my parents' Russian hymnals." "Please don't throw that dish away--it was my grandmother's." One had a piece of Chinese furniture she had purchased on a trip to China and had shipped home. She was hoping it could be saved because it was teak wood.
I think the saddest sight has been pouring water out of the photo albums of the lady who had 5 feet of water in her house. She had shelves of photo albums and all but a few at the tops were completely saturated. All of her son's baby pictures. Pictures of trips she had taken. It was so heartbreaking. She just stood there in the room looking at them helplessly. We helped her carry them outdoors but I don't think any of them will be able to be saved. Now that we have digital files, make backups and put them in different places. I hear people saying, "Stuff can be replaced. Pictures cannot." This same lady had also done a lot of ancestry research which was apparently all on paper. I didn't see a computer in her home. She mentioned several times that now all her research was gone.
Our second house was a young Chinese family with a baby and a 3 year old. Their house was a year old and only got an inch of water. Still....ick. The mom was totally stressed out tho and left for a hotel with the children. It was a good thing because the house got very dusty once sheet rock started to be cut and removed.
This is definitely the hardest on those with small children and on the elderly. I have seen so many messages on social media asking for help for families who have lost everything and the mother has just had a baby or is about to have a baby. Can you imagine?
Despite the trauma, many Texans are expressing how much they love seeing the kindness toward others and how they wish it could always be this way.
Maybe it can.
Let's do this, crew!
Jeff removing flooring
and more flooring...
Zoey learned to use a crowbar like a boss!
Sheet rock, insulation and flooring out but the smell of mold was still overpowering.
The never-ending piles of garbage
Most of the donations that are coming into the church are going out quickly but we o have shelves started indoors. We are supposed to get heavy rains on Tue so things need to start being stored indoors. Its also a bit easier for families to 'shop' for the things that they need in the a/c.