Please help our friends the Bradley family, of Bacliff, Texas, whose home was devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Harvey devastated Southeast Texas, from Rockport to Port Arthur, and Lake Charles, Louisiana. During this time, Harvey horribly damaged our friend Carla Bradley's house, where she lives with her mother, two younger sisters, and a 1 year old niece and 4 month old nephew. I45 Now's on site video interviewed the Bradleys and walked through their house.
[Above: Kelsey and Juanita Bradley, along with CERT volunteers Dennis, Jody, Ira, and Jimmy, during the first day of "mucking" the house.]
The Bradley family needs our help making their home livable again, and getting their lives back.
Their home was gutted thanks to multiple days of weather damage: first, storm surge and then days of flooding, with the second floor receiving damage (especially the bathroom, windows, upstairs doors, and A/C units), a storage shed and their deck damaged beyond repair, and the first floor becoming uninhabitable. The ceiling had to be ripped down, with reinforcement moved in to support both stories.
We are trying to find monetary and in-kind donations of labor; raw materials (flooring, dry wall, tile, lighting, a replacement gas heater, A/C, windows) and crucial furniture and appliances (especially a replacement bed, vanity sinks, new showers, couch).
The $16k figure we are trying to raise covers the cost of the wish list items on the right.
All the money raised goes to the Bradleys directly. The funds are keyed to Carla Bradley's account. (If you want to also help others in Houston, please consider supporting the Houston Food Bank and Galveston County Food Bank, because they will be here throughout the winter and into next spring.)
Watch I45 Now's on site video of their damaged house, shot Sunday, September 3rd.
DETAILED DAMAGE ASSESSMENT
The entire first floor of their home was damaged by more than 18 inches of water rushing in from the storm, with damage also to the upstairs.
All of their vehicles were flooded, with one car destroyed on the first night of the storm.
FEMA came out and marked the flood line at a much lower 10 inches, despite the destruction inside; the surveyor announced there was black mold.
Carla's mother Juanita and youngest sister Daisy no longer have a place to sleep downstairs, and have been bunking out upstairs on cots: you can imagine the discomfort of six people trying to sleep in less than 700 square feet.
The living room and its heater for the cold months was destroyed, with the gas pipes leaking and needing complete replacement.
Centerpoint Energy had to turn off the gas entirely this morning, after failing to fix the leak.
The downstairs bathroom was gutted, since most of the flood water came in from the back, next to the toilet; and now the upstairs bathroom is compromised by a tear in the wall. Someone in the backyard can now view the shower users upstairs.
The family also lost two couches, and dressers. That means a loveseat and a computer chair are the only remaining seating for 4 adults and 2 small children.
IMPACT ON THE FAMILY
The damage to the house has been hard for everyone, but especially on the family members - Juanita and Daisy - who lost their sleeping space.
It's indescribable, the feeling of going into your former bedroom and finding only ripped up walls and distressed tile.
Juanita liked the convenience of having a bathroom on the first floor, and the privacy and quiet of having some space to herself. She is the least materialistic person you can imagine; the most important thing in the world is taking care of her three daughters and her two grandbabies. That said, she also lost almost all of her clothing in the flooding, and many possessions, and that was hard. Fortunately, local community giving helped replace some of her clothes, as well as some personal care items for everyone, including the children.
Daisy dreams of working in health care, either in respiratory care, nursing, or as a physician assistant. She's prepping for the HESI entrance exam in the least conducive environment for studying you can imagine - with no private space, no bed, no desk, and most of her personal property destroyed.
Daisy also suffers from allergies, and has been frustrated that, with N95 masks in such short supply, she's limited in what she can do to help rebuild.
Beginning Labor Day weekend, family friends headed over to help with the "mucking" (removing damage from) the house. There is a core of 6 volunteers who are friends of the family, and 3 members of the Bradley family, that has been putting elbow grease into the site, from ripping out wet wood with crowbars to spraying down the house "bones" with bleach.
[Above, Carla Gauthier, who helped tear down the messed up ceiling.]
Thanks to Galveston County CERT [Community Emergency Response Team](which is helping two other families in addition to the Bradleys), and volunteer Shannon Kitchens, a camera crew from the I45 Now news outlet also learned of the damage in Bacliff. With their help, more local businesses and volunteers came over and started to help demo and continue the "mucking".
I-45 Now was concerned enough to focus an entire segment on the Bradley family, and what they saw during a ride-along with CERT. Again, the video can be viewed here.
So far, the damaged deck was removed by volunteers, along with the ceiling, destroyed couch, a bed, and a lot of destroyed wood, insulation and more.
Several of our friends in other states (NY, MI, and even other countries (thank you Ireland!) have already donated and shipped N95 masks, safety glasses, replacement tools for one of our lead volunteers, a dump cart (wheelbarrow replacement), and more. We have also pooled together an air filter for the second floor, a year old room air conditioner and a new room A/C unit, a bed for Daisy, as well as bleach, and cleaner. Groups like the local HEB and CERT have given the Bradleys food, and lots of bottled water.
WHAT'S STILL NEEDED?
Harvey was terrifying because it went on for days, and impacted a giant swath of Texas - from Rockport to Houston to Port Arthur. That is also working against a fast recovery; there are skilled labor and supply shortages throughout the state.
It's been difficult to get ahold of even inexpensive items that everyone needs, like N95 masks preventing mold inhalation and safety goggles and gloves. We are really blessed that our friends in other locations have helped us source more of these items.
CERT's local volunteers and the Bradleys' friends are trying to find general contractor assistance, as well as a electrical contractor and HVAC expert.
Drywall, flooring materials (including tile), lighting and windows are top priority, to shore up the "bones" of the damaged first and second floors, and maintain a safe home.
The gas heater must be replaced, and is particularly crucial, along with a larger A/C unit or a centralized unit. For now, Carla's friend David del Pino Kloques was able to bring in one of his room units for the first floor bedroom, to help slow the mold from spreading as we continue to roll through bleach treatments, and he purchased another small room unit to replace one where the mold had taken root.
Again, the sleeping space of two family members is gone. Juanita, the matriarch of the family, still needs a replacement mattress and bed frame; another bed for Daisy has been sourced locally from volunteers.
Both bathrooms need major reconstruction. The stairway also needs reinforcing. New lighting and fencing is needed for safety.
Funds raised will go to fix all of this, and go towards a replacement gas heater, A/C, windows, and crucial furniture and appliances (especially a replacement bed, vanity sinks, new showers, couch).
This is a long-term project, but time is of the essence in making sure the Bradleys have a safe, secure place to live and sleep.
OTHER WAYS TO HELP / IN-KIND
The biggest priority is getting skilled labor, such as HVAC, and electrical, but we would also benefit from volunteers who can come in and just help rebuild on major demo days.
If you can contribute in-kind donations, please call Shannon Kitchens at 713-397-3337.
WHO AM I?
Gofundme asks us to provide information about ourselves for these campaigns, and I think that's fair.
I have shared an awesome friendship - and two offices - with Carla Bradley. She is one of the most resourceful, hard-working, and reliable people I have ever met, and I am blessed to call her my friend. I very much want to lift up someone who has always had my back.
I live in a neighborhood in Friendswood, Texas, another town impacted by Harvey. I evacuated during the storm, and my street was very lucky, because many of my neighbors one street over had water on their first floor.
Unlike Friendswood, the town of Bacliff is very small, doesn't have a strong tax base, or a lot of resources to support citizens like the Bradleys. Galveston County CERT and the Bacliff FD have been doing hard work in the community, but there is so much LESS help available than in my town.
During Harvey, I evacuated to a town called Fairfield, which has just 3,000 people - a little bit less than half the size of Bacliff. Every single day the townspeople held a free meal - sometimes two - for the evacuees. They offered help with prescriptions, with laundry, and put together a giant clothing and supply drive in my hotel. They did amazing things with their limited resources. But you don't usually hear about small towns like Fairfield or Bacliff on TV, or in the newspaper.
That's why we are all so grateful that Tony Poynor from Galveston County CERT, Shannon Kitchens, and the staff at I-45 Now, chose to focus attention on families in Bacliff.
And, if you can't help with any kind of donation, or volunteering your time, we hope you will consider sharing this with others who may not know about the people in small towns like Bacliff.
Any and all help is greatly appreciated!
- Elizabeth Protas
- Bengisu Abramsky
- Margot Darby
- Gurjit Singh
- New Hope Church