Harvey evacuee plans to pay it forward after seeking refuge in Austin

While many have received help from the government after Hurricane Harvey, others have relied on the kindness of strangers.

The vantage points throughout Stephanie Myers' new apartment are a far cry from the one she left two months ago. 

“Actually I just threw my dirty clothes in my car thinking that I'd be able to go back. I'm like 'when I'm gone, I'll wash clothes, I'll come back, and everything is fine,'” explained Myers of leaving her home just as Hurricane Harvey began to strike her apartment in Orange, Texas.

Two days later, she returned to the area.

“There was nothing to go back to. The property was under water,” said Myers, who still has not been back inside her apartment.

It's a scary situation that Myers and thousands of others throughout southeast Texas experienced during Hurricane Harvey.

She went to Beaumont, but the city soon lost water, forcing her to come to Austin, where she planned to get a copy of her birth certificate which had been lost in the flooding.

“I ended up finding an Airbnb that they were doing free stays,” Myers explained.

She stayed there for nine days. In that time, she found a job in Austin and a temporary home to stay in through a posting on Homeaway.com.

“Most of the stuff was donated by the lady who owns the Homeaway.com house. Her family and friends all donated items,” said Myers as she looked around her nearly-completed apartment.

She's found help in social media groups, such as Harvey Home Drive, whose members helped pay her rent and assist in finding long-term housing.

“Strangers, absolutely, all strangers,” said Myers.

On Wednesday, the Christian Compassion Center delivered a washer and dryer and bed for their apartment. 

“The most fulfilling thing is to come over here to Stephanie’s house, to give her a washer and dryer, give her a mattress -- and say ‘why do you do this?’ Because God loves you. And we love you too,” said Mark Shackelford, the Executive Director of the Christian Compassion Center.

Now Myers wants to help those who've helped her family.

“It just makes me want to give back, you know. I feel like I have to pay it forward,” Myers said.

In the midst of a difficult situation, Myers has been touched by the outpouring of support.

“It lets me know that there are still compassionate people in the world. No matter what’s going on, what you see on the news of all the hurt, and all the pain, and all the hate -- I’m not seeing it. All I’m seeing is compassion and love,” Myers said.

Myers and her daughter plan to donate time working with Christian Compassion Center by sorting clothing.

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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