Hurricane Harvey makes its mark for East County families

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My daughter is an East County girl through and through. So her move to Texas nearly a year ago was no real surprise. She wanted the small town feeling to raise her boys and the ability to afford a permanent home for them as a family. This is something she was unable to do here in San Diego County, despite her good salary.

My daughter is an East County girl through and through. So her move to Texas nearly a year ago was no real surprise. She wanted the small town feeling to raise her boys and the ability to afford a permanent home for them as a family. This is something she was unable to do here in San Diego County, despite her good salary. But with hurricane Harvey hitting the southeast part of Texas over the weekend, I can only tell you that I was glued to “The Weather Channel” all weekend, looking at local radars and as a father, extremely concerned for her and my two grandsons.

Living in a small town northeast of Austin, she got lucky this time around. Getting the strong bands on the outskirts of Harvey, they had local flooding, trees fell down in the neighborhood and traveling was blocked in several directions from them going anywhere. So they sat it out and waited. But they were prepared. It’s a lifelong lecture for her as we are always talking about being prepared for the worst catastrophes that can happen here and we’ve seen a few. In 2003, then again in 2007 were times when my entire family evacuated from Lakeside down to the beach, as the fires were catastrophic to the area. But wildfires are not the only things we have to be prepared for here. So in moving to Texas, well known for tornadoes, she immediately set water in every room of the house, started collecting canned goods for the long run and got supplies for long-term power outages. Thankfully, even with more than 12 inches of rain in a very short amount of time, they are fine and well. But the same cannot be said about the people that took the brunt of the storm.

I have a friend here who lives in the suburban areas of northeast Houston who cannot get a flight back home and even if she could, does not know if she has a clear pathway back home. Until her move to Texas, Santee was her home for her entire life. It is difficult for her as her daughter is still there and her area has been hit hard with flooding waters. A friend of mine from high school is safe and sound, also on the outskirts of the storm, but is desperately trying to get to his nieces in the flooded areas, stuck on the second floor of their home. Not only is getting there a problem, but the violence, people stealing boats at gunpoint for looting purposes and those just taking advantage of the storm for bad deeds is a threat to his safety and ability to help his family. And that is just a few of the people that I know directly from family to friends that are affected by this horrific storm. I haven’t seen anything like this since my brother and his family was displaced permanently from Mississippi due to the devastation of hurricane Katrina. It will take the people of southeast Texas years to recover, and like Katrina, some of them will be displaced forever, finding homes in other parts of the country.

They need our help as a gathered nation for one cause. But sadly enough, this is the time when many people take advantage by utilizing disaster for moneymaking schemes. If you want to help, only donate to national organizations that are on the ground and well recognized for their work in dealing with our national catastrophes. The Red Cross is set up in so many ways to help the victims of hurricane Harvey and they will need support for a long while. If you want to make a more direct contribution, give money directly to people you know in the area that need your help or local churches in the area offering assistance. Whatever you do, stay away from quick social media pleas for help, and as much as GoFundMe has been good to so many people, it is also a haven for scammers. So be smart and make sure that your money spent is really going to help the people, families and animals that are in dire need right now. Do not let a scammer take away your good will. As much as we are divided as a nation in many issues, this is a time when we show our true strength as one nation. Texas needs our help, our prayers and our actions in order to move on.

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