Four months after flooding, hundreds in La Grange still out of home

It was just over four months ago that Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas. In La Grange -- roads and shops destroyed -- as water flooded the city. Four months later the city is slowly rebuilding, but the road to recovery is far from over.

LA GRANGE, TEXAS - It was just more than four months ago that Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Texas, including hundreds of homes in La Grange. 

While people from nearby churches and youth groups have continued to help, this week, the volunteers are from a place a bit further away, but still familiar. 

"La grange, Indiana," said Elmer Hochstetler, one of the volunteers. 

That's right. 

This week, a group of Mennonites came from La Grange, Indiana, to La Grange, Texas, wanting to help those in need in their sister city. 

"This week we are rebuilding," said Hochstetler. 

He said he's happy to help. 

"I just enjoy doing volunteer work, I'm not sure why, but it's a satisfaction, you really can't explain," said Hochstetler. "If you help somebody, it seems like you take more home than you brought."

Tina Villanueva's house is almost finished. 

"We're ready, we're ready to come back home," said Tina Villanueva. "It's not the same being at somebody else's house, so we're ready, we're ready to come back."

Tina, and her husband Ricky have come along way from when KVUE visited their house back in September. At that time, it was ripped down to studs. 

Now they hope to move back in, at the end of January, thanks to the help of volunteers. 

"It's just me and him, we couldn't have done it, we could not have done it without their help," said Villanueva. "We're so grateful, and we just can't believe it."

Joey Melton, the Vounteer and Construction Coordinator for the La Grange Area disaster recovery team says that helping hand is grately appreciated. 

"It makes a huge difference," said Melton. "Nothing that we have done, or will do can be done without these groups that come in."

But he said, they could always use more. 

"There's still a lot of work to be done here," said Melton. 

According to Melton, they are working on 12 homes right now, but said hundreds of people are still unable to return to theirs. 

"If I had the people and supplies that I needed, on hand this could be done in 9 months to a year, but realistically, with the amount of volunteers that I've had over the last month, it will be several years," said Melton. 

Despite that, Melton said these volunteers, are creating a positive outlook for homeowners like the Villanevas. 

"As word spread through the community that the Mennonite community was coming in from Indiana, you know there was a lot fo hype and a lot of build up coming to this, and the people are excited to have them here, they really are, it's really changed the outlook for many people," said Melton. 

"I'm very overwhelmed, I'm very happy, and I'm very grateful for all the volunteers coming in," said Villanueva. "I thank yall, I'll thank yall fro the bottom of our heats, for all the work that yall have done."

They just hope, the volunteers keep coming. 

There's another group of Mennonites who are expected to help starting in January, and stay for 3 months. 

If you want to volunteer, email VolunteerCityofLG@gmail.com.

© 2018 KVUE-TV


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