Shirley Ellett from Paige, Texas in Bastrop County.
Written by: Rusty Surette / American Red Cross Public Affairs
“This is it,” said Shirley Ellett. “This is all that’s left of ‘Nana’s Garden.’”
The Texas grandmother of two points to the only stone on her scorched land that appears to be untouched by recent wildfires.
“My granddaughters painted this rock for me,” explained Ellett as she struggled to lift the heavy stone. “And when we came home we saw we had lost everything. Everything, but this.”
Ellett is surrounded by family, including her grandkids, and she’s covered in a blanket she received from the American Red Cross. She’s using the blanket to keep herself dry from an afternoon storm that rolled into Bastrop County this weekend.
“The rain would have been nice a week ago,” she said. Thankfully I had this blanket inside my kit.” Also in the Red Cross backpack is a flashlight that can also charge a cell phone, a first aid kit and gloves.
“This has been wonderful,” said Ellett standing next to her daughter. “Yesterday we were able to get a sifter, trash bags and snacks at the Red Cross station down the street. Thank you so much.”
Wildfires across Texas have destroyed more than 1,500 homes and left many wondering where they’ll go from here. That’s why more than 340 volunteers and staff with the American Red Cross have spread across the Lone Star State handing out comfort kits, feeding affected families and supporting overnight shelters.
In addition to providing counseling to those who have been affected by the fires, Red Cross volunteers have teamed up with the Southern Baptist Convention to serve more than 6,000 meals in Bastrop County alone.
Ellett says this is home and she plans to rebuild on her land here in the Paige community.
“I have my family. We’re strong. We’ll be fine”, she said.