Sunday, May 19, 2013

Re-entry After Disaster: A Day of Many Emotions, the Strongest Being Hope

By Tonya Solis-Mosby, volunteer contributor
Hope soars in the disaster field following Wednesday evening's F4 tornado in Granbury as the Gamez family is reunited with their dog, Piolin.
They waited with anticipation for two days for permission to return home after fleeing the F4 tornado that ripped through their Rancho Brazos neighborhood, leaving a swath of death and destruction in its path.  But on this day, Beatrice Gamez’s emotions are mixed – with eagerness, sadness and hope - as her and other Granbury residents are allowed to finally go home and see what is left of their lives and memories.
“I saw pictures and I saw what was here on TV,” says Gamez.  “We are just glad to come back.”
Gamez along with several other family members said that since the first night when they went to the American Red Cross shelter, they’ve waited anxiously to return home to see what, if anything, was left.  They are also filled with great hope that their two Chihuahuas, both of which they had to leave behind, somehow found safety and will be found alive and doing well. 
“When we got out [of the truck],” Mrs. Gamez said while rubbing her Chihuahua, called Piolin, “she came out of the bushes.  We were so happy. My girls will be so happy.”
Gamez said she didn’t know where the whereabouts of their other Chihuahua but she hoped that it too will be found safe.
The Gamez family was excited about reconnecting with one of their dogs, but were saddened that they could retrieve very few of their belongings from the house they had lived in for more than 20 years.
Other families throughout the ravaged neighborhood shared similar stories to the Gamez family.  Their belongings were now nothing more than cracked fragments lying amid splintered rubble.  But under the coordination of volunteer firefighters from several cities, including the Granbury Volunteer Fire Department, there were many helpers on hand to help the families begin the process of rebuilding their lives.  American Red Cross volunteers offered water, food, and tools such as rakes, shovels and gloves to stay hydrated and protected through work that is both physically and emotionally challenging.  Volunteers from several other organizations combed the neighborhood to offer help to residents as they sifted through what was left of their homes.
Back in the city of Granbury, more volunteers manned assistance stations in a Disaster Resource Center established by the American Red Cross. The Disaster Resource Center will serve as a hub in Hood County for tornado victims to come and learn more about all the organizations and people eager to help them begin rebuilding their lives after this sudden and deadly disaster.
Clean-up efforts in all of the areas affected by this tornado outbreak will continue for many days.  You can help by making a financial donation to the American Red Cross, and there are several ways to do it. Among them, you can call 1-800-REDCROSS or you can text “REDCROSS” to 90999. The text donation of $10 will be automatically applied to your phone bill. To make a gift online or learn how you can volunteer, visit redcross.org.

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