Hurricane Harvey Self Resue

Our family's home in West Houston near Dairy Ashford was flooded by the release of resevoir water during Hurricane Harvey,  infamous to our hometown of Houston and now the nation as the most severe and anticipated costly of disasters in our nation's history.  My family DID NOT get a warning to get out and water was released and began flooding hours prior to when indicated.

We are not the type to ask for help, and honestly I didn't really want to create this page.   But so many generous people have expressed a sincere desire to help in SOME way, and they suggested this page.  Being a very independent hard-working person, it's hard to acknowledge the fact that we will need help.   Offers for help with moving things is kind, but the fact is our house is and will remain submerged for quite some time.  We'd never put anyone near the water our home now sits in, as it is extremely dangerous.  As a vounteer, past social worker, and dealing with people in need, I am personally probably MORE sceptical of donating.  As a social worker, I served people who deserved.  But I served people who were ungrateful and awful.  I have driven by "Non-Profit" organizations and my jaw just dropped at the gorgeous facility they call their "office."  I don't trust very many big organizations to be honest with my money. As a habit in the past, our family chooses to help actual PEOPLE we know and prefer to take care of each other, instead of organizations.  I'm not saying all organizations are bad and many are good and deserving of support.  But it's just my preference to help people directly, which is another reason I consented to post this page.  I want to see and know what my donation is going to so I understand others preferring the same and possibly choosing our family's cause.

It's becoming real and sinking in that our home was sacraficed by the Army Corps of Engineers, that it is a totoal loss, and that the amount of energy time and money to recover is an amount that is seriously unbelievable.  

I never imagined in million years this would happen to us.  I remeber finally drifting off to sleep as the rains came, but my high school sweetheart and husband, Brian, stayed vigiliantly awake. Brian woke me and my two boys, Wyatt (12) and Hudson (10), up at around 1 am panicking at the rushing water.  We worked hard as a family to salvage and lift what we could.  I felt it was just a precaution and was still in denial that we would get any water inside.  The idea seemed absurd.  The boys worked like men and didn't complain, but the littlest kept asking for a hug, saying, "Mom, I need a hug," then later, "Mom, I just need another hug."  I could tell he was upset.  

Most of our efforts were useless as the water rose far higher than we could have ever anticipated.  When we left I only packed 2 pairs of clothes in denial thinking we'd be right back, everything would be fine.  If I had only known we wouldn't be back, and it wouldn't be fine.  

Me, my husband, and my two boys left the house on watercraft and went to higher ground nearby to a friend who took us in.  After finally falling asleep, the terror returned and again I was woken up.  The lights went out.  And water was rising.  So my family and the family we were staying with together evacuated to another generous friend's home for the night.  Falling asleep was nearly impossible, but exhaustion finally gave in. 

We have nothing from FEMA.  We got an e-mail confirming that we registered.  Us along with our friends are all string at "Pending" messages, while we agonize over what to do and helpless to go back to our homes to do anything.   Our insurance insists on towing my car before helping us with replacing it and we keep telling them it's swamped in toxic water, to no avail.   

We made a trip to save our cat and hampster, but any efforts to go back to the house are ceased as the water is truly a danger.  One trip and if you fell in the water the possibility of contracting flesh-eating bacteria, staph infections, or worse is very real.  

The thanks we already owe to SO many friends and family goes without saying. If you checked on us, it meant a lot to us.  The Nottingham Forest family is unbelievable. My brother and his wife, Kirk and Joanna Toups for feeding us and helping with the kids. Jennifer and Chance Rabon for housing us, lending us clothes and rain boots in the crisis, and being there for us. Chris Smith and his family for housing and feeding us. Jennifer and Criag Vanderschoor for being superheros and getting things done we didn't even think of.  Sue Ann and Emery McCulley for their constant support. And a seriously HUGE thank you to my parents, Joe and Carol Toups for literally saving us from being homeless!

Getting back on our feet will be a process for ourselves and our neighborhood.   We are sad, hurt and mad, but we are a strong group of people.  Right now our goal is to raise money to salvage properties as soon as possible.  Dumpsters, labor, supplies, moving trucks.  My husband works in construction and knows how to manage starting a project like this.  Our goal is to have some funds ready for when the water finally goes away so we can go in fast and furious,  save what we can so we can all use those things to live while displaced,  then gut the homes so we can start working safely.


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Kyla Toups McCulley 
Houston, TX
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