I have known Bill since we grew up two houses apart on a little dead end street in Huntington WV. I have known Jerri since she and Bill got married and built a house two doors down from the house I grew up in. We have had many great times of celebration and held each other up during hard times. Husband, father, Poppy, co-worker, coach, wife, mother, Gigi, school secretary, and Hokies don't forget that. They mean so much to so many people.
Today I went through pictures of them over the years. I wasn't surprised that there were so many of family, especially the children. There were also friends, tons, and tons of friends. Pictures of them serving others. VBS with pies in the face, softball, Diamond Dusters, INCO, helping neighbors, and Hokies, more Hokies.
Then there were pictures from the last few days and as the song says the rains came down and the floods came up play in my mind. Still family, still smiles, still thankfulness because the wise man's house stood firm. Damaged, but FIRM in their faith.
You could not know a more faithful, selfless, and giving family. They are always ready to pitch in and help others, whatever and wherever the need. They have always been on the giving end of the equation. Bill knows what it is like in the aftermath of a hurricane because he spent a week as a first responder 12 years ago during Hurricane Katrina. But last week Hurricane Harvey turned the tables on them. Bill and Jerri recently retired and moved to Texas to be closer to their daughter, her husband, and their grandkids. Devoted grandparents were finding it a real challenge to be so far away from their babies.
Retirement and moving away from the people and the town of Huntington which they love deeply was a hard decision. But one they knew was right. Last week was a hard week, to begin with. Bill is nursing a back injury. Jerri was dealing with kidney stones and one of the boys has a broken foot in a cast up to his knee. Then Havey hit. Their home, which is not in a flood plain was hit hard. And because they were not in a flood plain there was no flood insurance. The rains came. The water continued to come in and up the walls. They were able to move most of their belongings to the second floor. And then they waited to be evacuated.
Help came in the way of three of Hutch and Julie's friends and a flat bottom boat. They were rescued and are now staying with Julie and her family. And as you can see from the picture below, they are all thrilled and blessed to be with each other again. That's truly them...one big happy family.
Even with all the trials and trying to navigate unfamiliar territory with insurance companies and FEMA, sleepless nights, and the uncertainty of how and when they would be evacuated, they are all still smiles.
They have already begun the grueling task of recovery. Today they were able to go back into the house to check the damage. They have already begun removing carpet, wood flooring, and all damaged items. I could not even begin to know what the estimated cost of getting them back on their feet. I do know that they will be frugal and make every attempt to use the funds that are raised. And I can assuredly say that if there are funds remaining, they will offer their time and talents as well as monies to help other families in need in the area.
And I would be remiss and I know that they would say for us all to remember and pray for all the families, responders and others have had a hand in making this horrible situation a little easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I wonder how many of us have been helped at some time in our own lives by the Black's or others just like them. I have read on their Facebook pages in countless comments of people/friends wanting to know how they can help. Now we have a plan of action with the Go FundMe account.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your donation. They mean so much to a lot of us and we hate it that we can not be there with them in their time of need. So this is our way to help.
- Tabacchi Family
- Art/Marsha Lewis
- Eric Shiflett
- Direct Impact Fund
Organizer and beneficiary
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