Cleaning up Ella's home

Volunteers from World Renew help Port Arthur resident whose home was damaged in Harvey

BY KELLIE SCHOLMA | September 22, 2017

Ella, in red, with the team of World Renew DRS volunteers in front on her home.

Ella lives in Port Arthur, Texas, in a house that has been in her family for decades. When evacuation orders were broadcast by the governor of Texas in preparation for Hurricane Harvey, Ella left her home. The water was ankle deep as she locked the door behind her, and Ella worried because she was not sure just how much damage the flood would do to her home.

Ella later heard from her neighbors that other homes in her community were reported to have anywhere from one to six feet of water inside them.

With no place else to go, Ella is living in her flood-damaged home while World Renew Disaster Response Services (DRS) volunteers help her sort through and discard her ruined belongings, and tear out the water-logged floors and walls. This kind of work is a daunting physical and emotional task.

“First we have to get everything out of the house,” said Lois Hecksel, a World Renew DRS volunteer. “Then we can start tearing out the damaged floors and walls. We are taking it one house at a time. In each home, we are respectful of the homeowner’s belongings, recognizing that this is a very difficult situation.”

Hecksel is leading a team of volunteers from Michigan and New Jersey as they serve flood survivors in Texas. This initial volunteer group will serve for two weeks in Port Arthur. (World Renew would like to thank the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church in Port Arthur for housing our volunteers and facilitating World Renew’s presence as we serve those in need in the community.)

Cleaning out homes is one of the first services World Renew DRS provides to those devastated by natural disasters. What comes next?

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Cleaning up Ella's home

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