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For Victor & Rachel of Caddo Mounds

$48,845 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 455 people in 2 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created April 14, 2019
The East Texas Cultural Alliance is raising funds to support:
 Victor & Rachel Galan of Caddo Mounds

On Saturday, April 13, the tiny communities of Weeping Mary and Alto were struck by a tornado wreaking havoc across East Texas. Caddo Mounds State Historic Site took a direct hit from the tornado. The visitors center, and recently built grass house and heritage garden were destroyed. An estimated 30-40 people were injured, several remain in critical condition.

Saturday was Caddo Culture Day at the Mounds. A day when hundreds of people gather to interact with the Caddo Nation and celebrate their heritage.

Tragically, Victor Galan, archeologist, vice-president of the Friends of Caddo Mounds volunteer organization, and husband of assistant site supervisor, Rachel Galan, was critically injured. He sustained injuries to his neck and spine, and his recovery will be long and difficult.

Those who know Victor and Rachel have been touched by their kindness and generosity. They are dedicated to their family, their friends, and their careers. Together, they have worked to help artists, writers, brewers, musicians, craftsmen, and educators of all kinds to create real connections and lasting change in our community.

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The East Texas Cultural Alliance was founded in 2016 through a partnership with Caddo Mounds SHS, Nacogdoches Historic Sites, Nacogdoches Public Library, the Forestry Museum, the Stone Fort Museum, the SFA Gardens Program, and the Texas Forest Trail Region. The organization provides collaborative support to volunteers and cultural professionals working in museums, historic sites, libraries, and parks across East Texas.

Friends of the Nacogdoches Public Library is serving as the 501c3 pass-through organization. All donations are tax-deductible.
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Good News!
On Friday, Victor graduated to TIRR Memorial Hermann for rehab. And, today, Vic whispered a soft good morning to Rachel. She had not heard his voice in 37 days...

In that time, 450 people came together to raise $48,195. We are so grateful for your love, energy, and support for this sweet family.

While, we are a little shy of our goal, we will be closing our campaign tomorrow - to transfer the funds to our friends. Thank you, so much for your cheers and generosity!
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From Rachel:
This morning, I started thinking about my own Sha-ho (Caddo word for one who experiences a tornado) story, thoughts triggered by songs and the telling of your memoirs. I read somewhere Jeff (Victor's longtime friend and colleague) refer to Sha-ho as “he”. This struck me, because from my first thoughts about my experience, I knew Sha-ho as “she”. In her forceful, circular winds, she has given me a crash course in all it means to be a woman, Maiden – Mother- Crone. The very essence of Sha-ho is the ancient spiral of those feminine roles. Her fierceness cleansed ancient land and our lives and returned us to a time of awakening, a time of beginnings. In her wake, I’m mother striving to nurture my family and friends while allowing others to nurture me. In her wrath, I’ve embraced another of the ancient roles of women. I’ve made peace with giving death. I’ve given death to old ideas and beliefs. I’ve stood by my husbands’ bedside and given him permission to go if that was what he needed to do.

I’ve been struck by the variety in what we experienced. As terrible as it was to see my husband so critically wounded, the pain in the eyes of my community, and the destruction of the site, I was oddly sheltered first by the building itself and then by my complete focus on keeping Victor breathing and conscious.

I remember knowing that the weather was rapidly getting worse. Victor and I had talked a little bit the morning of festival about a plan for severe weather. We thought the best plan was to get everyone in the education room because it was an interior space without windows. When the skies got dark, and the rain grew fierce, I started working to get all the people under the pavilion into the museum. It’s interesting how we believe that buildings are safe. I remember a truck and big horse trailer pulling up and a man jumping from his truck and running for the building. I remember looking at the grass house and realizing that Jeff, Madeliene and John were still in there. I thought I should run and get them, and then one of the Alabama Coushatta men came in and said, “It’s right there, I see it!”. I remember how hard it was to get the door closed against the wind. I remember trying to push people into the education room. The lights went out, the big window shattered, and then the building was gone.

I was hit by an interior wall of the education room, but I wasn’t injured. I could stand and look around, but I was perfectly enclosed and protected by a pyramid of two walls and a glass door. Sarah was next to me and I could see she was OK. She was able to crawl out of her space. I waited for a few minutes registering that I was completely trapped, but safe. Several of the Caddo drum circle broke the glass door, the shell of my cocoon, and I was able to walk out of the museum. Briefly, I registered chaos, but I didn’t see Victor. That was the first-time panic set in. It didn’t take long before I found him, I knew he was critically hurt. Several men pulled him out, stabilized his neck, and cleaned off his face. He was breathing and conscious, but there was lots of blood. For the next three hours, keeping him breathing and conscious was my sole purpose. In those three hours we cycled through a circular conversation. He said, “there is a pain in my neck”, “there is pressure in my chest”, “are you OK?”, “did everyone make it?”, “am I sitting up?”. There were times in those three hours where he grew tired. There was a time when winds and rain picked up and I thought we would be hit by another tornado. I heard the work going on all around me, all the brave souls pulling people out of rubble and triaging the injured. I heard all that activity, but I didn’t see it. All I saw was Victor. I am thankful for the people who sat with us, gave us strength, and made sure I knew that we were not alone. Life flight came and ended that chapter. We are still in the second chapter of Sha-ho.
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From Rachel,
Today is a good day. I met with a representative from TIRR Memorial Hermann rehabilitation center. Victor is ready to make the move to rehab, and we are ready to get him there. The transition should happen this week. The approval for this move means that the doctors believe that they have resolved all of the acute issues related to ARDS that were making Victor so sick. The team at TIRR will be working with him 3-4 hours a day on a variety of therapies. With this move he will be able to put his amazing work and exercise ethic to use.
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From Rachel:
It is day 16 after the tornado. A full week into our dance with ARDS and I realize that there are no quick fixes and no firm answers. Each morning I walk into the CCU and hope for significant improvement and each day we see a bit of progress in some areas and not much in others. Today we finally began to accept that this holding pattern could last weeks and not days and in those days are risks of complications and backsliding. If you are directing energy and prayers our way, then keep them coming and give a little focus to healing Victor's lungs.
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$48,845 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 455 people in 2 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created April 14, 2019
Funds raised will benefit:
Nacogdoches Friends of the Library Incorporated
Certified Charity
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Nacogdoches, TX
EIN: 751397558
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* If, after reasonable efforts, PayPal Giving Fund cannot deliver donations to this charity, the funds may be donated to another charity per PayPal Giving Fund’s policies.
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