Houston, Texas — Communities in Texas are still cleaning up the devastation left behind by Hurricane Harvey. The storms passed through Houston weeks ago, but homeowners are continuing to live in the wreckage. A group of Medford residents are there helping by cleaning and remodeling homes with major damage.
“We started out just packing up clothes and belongings and stuff like that, then we moved on to ripping off the drywall off of the walls and pulling out nails,” Amy Joffer said. “We work with a company, or an organization called Helping Hands International.”
Joffer and her friend Megan Jiles volunteered for the work, after seeing the devastation on television.
“When we were watching everything happening on the news and stuff, it was just put on our hearts that we wanted to help some how, and just make it work with our own jobs and stuff, just to come down and just love on some people that were hurting,” Jiles said.
When the women arrived in the Lone Star State on Sunday, they didn’t know what to expect.
“They’ve done a ton of disaster relief already before we came, there’s been tons of volunteers already here in teams before us, so from the outside, it doesn’t look like there was a big lake in the middle of this street, which there was,” Jiles said.
They found the work that’s needed is behind the walls.
“Once you step inside the homes and actually see all the damage, and the smell and the mold,” Jiles said.
“There’s still water in the drawers,” Joffer said.
“You open up something and it just comes pouring out,” Jiles said.
They women aren’t shouldering the burden alone.
“The homeowners stay here with you.” Jiles said.
“He brought us lunch,” Joffer noted.
George Dorsey was at his home when Harvey hit.
“I was home that night, it rained for about five days, Hurricane Harvey, we were just set on our hearts to settle in,” Dorsey said.
The water filled Dorsey’s entire house and forced his family to evacuate.
“We had to be rescued out of here by the National Guard, wade out here into their trucks, climb a six foot ladder, water all around and we were taken to an area church,” Dorsey said.
That terrifying experience is now a memory. The women are determined to help Dorsey build a positive future.
“It’s blessing us, being here, because we’re here to love on people that a hurting, hurting people, and just show them hope, that they haven’t been forgotten,” Jiles said.
The group is helping for a few more days in Texas, before returning home this weekend.