By Heather Sutton
Hurricane Harvey has devastated the southern counties and coast of Texas with flooding and high winds for over week now. Over 30 counties had to be evacuated and are now underwater and without power, water and other necessities.
But Hurricane Harvey hits close to home for one Stamford family. Melissa Velasquez just happened to be in Taft, Texas, when they evacuated the town. Her cousin's children had just days before had a funeral for their father and were now being evacuated because of the hurricane. So naturally, Melissa stepped up and brought them home to Stamford with her. Not only did Melissa help her family but about 10 strangers as well. Most of them are gone now and have found shelter with their families elsewhere, but Ayita, Caleb, Corey, Christina and their two children, Isaiah and little Ava, hope to get home on Saturday. But for now they have a home with Melissa.
As for their family and friends still in Taft and Gregory, Texas, they have all been in communication with them and everyone is safe but they aren't completely sure about their homes. They think there is just wind damage and not flood damage. They are for now just happy with having a comfortable place to stay and trying not to stress about the mess of going they are going home to. They continually remind themselves that all that matters is that they are safe and the children are comfortable.
When asked how she was doing with all this excitement, Melissa said that she was blessed with a great church and community who jumped in to action and donated food, clothing, and paper goods to help them and keep them all comfortable and safe. When asked why she volunteered to provide a shelter for total strangers, she simply said that was what she was supposed to do and that she did what she believed was right, that God had to have put her there for a reason. Melissa also commented that with her cousin's children around her, it has helped her in return grieve the loss of her cousin, their father.
And when asked how they were feeling about all of this, naturally Ayita, Caleb, Corey and Christina said they are nervous about returning to their homes and the mess that the hurricane has left them with, no power, no running water, and the fears of if their homes have been looted or not. They also mentioned that they were concerned about their jobs and paying bills after having been off work for almost two weeks. But they say for now they are trying not to over stress and over think anything by playing Uno and eating Melissa's good food. They are just happy to be safe and have a comfortable roof over their head, and they are grateful for Melissa opening her home to them.
It is safe to say that Melissa is a wonderful, courageous person and that everyone wishes Ayita, Caleb, Corey, Christina, Isaiah, and Ava safe travels and best wishes as they return home.
Hurricane Harvey has now made its way over to parts of Louisiana and has spawned Severe Thunderstorms up into Texas as far as the Dallas-Fort Worth area leaving some residents there without power as well. And remember you are never too far away to help... So please pray for the people affected by Hurricane Harvey and help in any way you can, every little bit counts.