Volunteers help flood victims in La Grange

While many La Grange residents work to clean the mud and water from their homes, they still are looking for basic needs.

Dozens of volunteers in La Grange are jumping in to help save anything they can from flood-damaged homes. 

Billy Herbrich's home is full of precious memories that are now soaked in water and covered in mud.

"Water pressure's got a lot of pressure, and it just ruins things," said Herbrich.

He is still shocked by what the water did to his home.

"I was amazed, I couldn't believe what I saw when I got in there, water does strange things," said Herbrich. "Even though it's all ruined, we got to get it out."

Ann Raborn is one of the many volunteers who began helping him clean up.

"It is a huge mess, there is mud and water in everything," said Raborn. "It's just a huge mess, and it's going to be a long process."

She said it's important to help her neighbors.

"I wanted to come out and do what I could," said Raborn. "This is my hometown, I love this place, I love the people who live here."

For Raborn, it has been emotional seeing her town so torn up.

"I cried, like I said, this is our home and and when any of us are hurt, all of us feel it," said Raborn.

"It's great, it's unbelievable they all showed up," said Herbrich.

According to Kimberly Newton, there were more than 100 people volunteering to clean up in La Grange Thursday.

"They're removing trash, they're cutting down sheet rock, they might be removing cabinets," said Newton.

Newton works for the city and helped organize the volunteers.

"We have so many people calling from all over the state of Texas which is so great wanting to volunteer, we just want to kind of go in, in an organized fashion," said Newton.

She said 300 families in La Grange and 200 just outside city limits lost either part or all of their home.

"This is a big percentage of our population that has just lost everything," said Newton.

So every one of the volunteers helps.

"We want to do what we can to help those that have been affected by this," said Raborn.

"Maybe we can rebuild, I don't, we'll see," said Herbrich.

"People don't have homes to live in, people have lost just all of their possessions, the water has never come up this far, most of them don't have flood insurance," said Newton.

If you want to volunteer to help clean up, Newton encourages you call the city at 979-968-3017 so they can help direct you to a location to pitch in.

They're also requesting people bring hand tools.

"People are wanting to bring in large equipment I think that, eventually, we'll get there, but right now we just really need hands and we need these hand tools," said Newton.

Down the road, flood victims are able to pick up some of the necessities they need, and likely lost in the water.

"We lost everything," said Enrique Ramirez. "We needed everything, we lose everything."

It's people like Ramirez, who volunteers in La Grange want to help.

Linda Morrison is on the Board of Second Chance Emporium, a resale shop in La Grange, run by area churches.

They try to sell things at a lower price for those in need.

But Monday's floods, took out their inventory when water was up to the roof.

"We just got into our building yesterday to see, it's just horrific, " said Morrison.

So they reached out, asking for donations, and the answer came in from hundreds all over the state.

"The pouring out of donations has just been unreal," said Morrison. "We just ran out of room on day one with the donations."

Now they have everything from blankets to bottles, shirts to shoes, and flood victims can get them for free.

For the month of September, they're changing from resale to disaster recovery distribution center, handing out these items to flood victims.

"It's devastating because again, we know everybody," said Morrison. "If you haven't gone through a flood, which most of us haven't here in La Grange, the damage that can be caused, I just couldn't believe what we saw."

Denise Winter is volunteering.

"We're all here because it could have been us," said Winter. "Your heart just drops for these people and for our town."

She's lived in La Grange for 20 years and wants to help her fellow neighbors.

"We have so many people that lost everything, just everything, that we have to help as much as we can," said Winter.  "We have to give back to our community and make a difference for these people that were not as fortunate as us."

People like Sarah Jackson, who said her home was gone in just 20 minutes.

"I've seen my house is like mud this high, so there's nothing salvageable in the house," said Jackson. "I lost everything."

She's thankful to now be able to come here to find shoes for her kids.

"Out of all this you know, it's a blessing and this is my blessing," said Jackson. "I'm grateful for these people, for all this."

Several members of Jessica Villanueva's family lost their home.

"To see our house that we grew up in, was just gone, so it was pretty hard," said Villanueva.

She brought her grandmother to the center Thursday.

"It's hard because my family's like oh there's other families that need it more, but I try to tell my grandma and uncle, yall need it too, just as much as everybody else does," said Villanueva.

She's thankful for the volunteers.

"It makes me feel good about this because our town it may be a small own, but our town, like everybody knows everybody, and everybody is willing to help everybody," said Villanueva. "It makes our community better and stronger, at least that's just how I feel."

Even though they're in need, she wants to donate.

They're canceling a family vacation planned for later this year.

"It may not be much, but we want to do that, help as much as we can," said Villanueva.

And that's what they're all doing, wanting to help, no matter how big or small.

You can still donate to the center, they plan to keep it open all month long.

"Our plan is to revert back to a resale shop after," said Morrison.

But, that would still be out of the temporary location, until they can clean up the building downtown.

 

© 2017 KVUE-TV


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