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‘A real homecoming’: La Grange nursing home residents move back in after Harvey

Five months after Hurricane Harvey hit and flood waters destroyed hundreds of homes in La Grange, some of the first residents are moving back in.

Some of the first La Grange residents are starting to move back in five months after Hurricane Harvey destroyed hundreds of homes.

Dozens evacuated Care Inn of La Grange, a nursing home in the area. For months, many of them have been living at other facilities across the region. But on Monday, they can finally return home.

"Welcome back," shouted employees, as the first resident, Olga Buchhorn rolled through the door.

"It's good to be back home here," Buchhorn said.


Two La Grange nursing homes evacuated as flood waters rise

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

The water was waist high when the floodwaters hit. Crews have been working for months, replacing walls, flooring and furniture.

"Oh my goodness, what an improvement," Buchhorn said.

Buchhorn remembers the night she had to leave.

"It was not too good, but I managed, it all just came so quick you know, had to get out," Buchhorn said.

She stayed at a church, then with family, and then at another nursing home in Shulenburg.

"Oh yeah, I missed this place a whole lot, and everybody that worked here," said Buchhorn. "It's like a real homecoming, and it's so good to see the smiling faces."

Debra Hall is one of those smiling faces.

"I'm happy I'm going to see all my people again," said Hall. "Get to be with your family again, it's exciting."

But not everyone will be returning. Only about half of the residents will move back in.

Hall remembers the early morning call back in August, saying it was time to get everyone out.

"That was scary, I just remember going down that road going north and somebody saying, 'That road's been closed.' And I was like, 'We've got to try,'" said Hall.

It was a time when her family was evacuating from their own home.

She still isn't able to move back into her house, but she said neighbors, friends and even strangers have helped rebuild.

"It renews your faith in humankind," said Hall.

Now, after months of renovations at the Care Inn of La Grange, Hall gave KVUE a tour of their new nursing home.

"All new furniture, anything that had river water on it, had to be totally thrown away," said Hall. "To just have a fresh coat of paint, not worry about something leaking or breaking because it was such an old building -- so I'm excited."

Even with all the new things, Buchhorn is just happy to return to her favorite spot in the lunchroom. It's little piece of a normalcy.

And that's what people here are ready to get back to: A typical, every day routine.

While things are renovated and replaced here at Care Inn, there are plenty of people in La Grange who are still wanting to get back into their home.

If you want to volunteer, contact the city via email at VolunteerCityofLG@gmail.com.

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