KRCG 13 IN TEXAS: Texas neighborhoods express gratitude over volunteer relief efforts

Jolene and Anita Davis serve dinner to a man in Dickinson Texas Sunday evening. (Greg Dailey/KRCG 13)

Southeast Texas residents slowly returned to their homes after a forced evacuation last week.

They were greeted at their front doors with family heirlooms, furniture and all material memories they had built up over the years - ruined. Mounds of mattresses, drywall and remnants of porches littered the Dickinson and Texas City sidewalks Sunday. Families and friends of those hit by Hurricane Harvey showed their support by braving the Texas heat and purging houses of all their belongings.

"The mold buildup, that's one thing you have to be concerned about," Dickinson resident Calvin Huffman said.

Huffman was rescued from his home last weekend via water rescue boats. His house on Manor Lane is situated just north of the Dickinson Bayou, a location that proved to be devastating.

"The hurricanes are terrible, the aftermath is absolutely horrendous," he said.

The bayou rose out of its banks and ran over miles of residential areas. As the water levels reached more than four feet high in his house, Huffman said he jumped off his second-floor balcony into the street, "which was basically a river by that point."

As Huffman and neighborhood friends cleared the wreckage from his house Sunday afternoon, two mid-Missouri Red Cross emergency response volunteers arrived at a most opportune time.

Anita Davis and Jolene Davis, both of Montgomery City, delivered 300 hot meals to Dickinson residents in the late afternoon. After serving pre-packaged lunches earlier in the day, the two mid-Missourians anticipated a crowd as the day's work came to a close.

"Our main goal is to bring some brightness into their day, bring a ray of sunshine," Jolene Davis said.

Her ERV (emergency relief vehicle) drove through the once-wide streets that have since been narrowed by overflow debris, attracting several workers.

The expressions of shock on the faces of those beginning to clean their homes were evident. The looks of exhaustion from gutting an entire residence or business were more common, as dozens of Dickinson residents sat down in the grass to catch their breath in their front yards, gasping and staring at the piles of chairs broken near the road.

"We see them on their worst days when their life is just devastated," Anita Davis said. "To be able to give them some help, a little bit of food, to spark their day a little. It doesn't take much to excite us and to keep us going."

Huffman expressed how thankful he was to local volunteers, as well as those across the country, and how that served as motivation to push forward.

"To see these people coming from so far to help, that's something," Huffman said. "We'll rebuild and recover like we have done before, this time just may take a while longer."

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