Story and caption by: Jay Bonafede, American Red Cross
Photo by: Stefanie Arcangelo, American Red Cross
Stacey Burris spent Monday adding to the debris pile in front of her Deweyville home. That pile includes furniture, carpeting and more, all of it destroyed by the recent Southeast Texas floods.
“I am lucky and grateful,” Burris said. “My family came and we were able to save some things that had sentimental value. I know some people that didn’t. That breaks my heart.”
Since the flooding forced her from her home nearly three weeks ago, Burris has been staying with various family members. On the first day residents were allowed back to see the damage and begin trying to repair their homes, Burris saw a Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle at a nearby gas station. Volunteers gave her a cleanup kit, including a rake, mop and the rubber gloves she was wearing on Monday.
“I’m also working at the school to help them clean up and y’all have been there, too,” Burris says. “That’s where I got some food from the Red Cross. It was awesome, too. Great chicken!”
Burris recently visited the Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) at Deweyville High School. There, she met with a Red Cross case worker, received referrals and support to begin the recovery process and assistance to help replace some of her lost clothing and other immediate needs. Burris says despite damage she believes to be worse than this area suffered during Hurricane Ike, she plans to rebuild in Deweyville.
“This is my home, my roots, where my kids are,” Burris said. “We just all try to pull together. It’s a small community, everybody knows each other.”
Burris said she and her sister are planning to become Red Cross volunteers themselves as soon as their lives have settled down. She wants people to know it will likely take months or even years for this area to recover.
“We’re still here, struggling. But my sister heard about training for Red Cross volunteers in Alexandria and said, ‘We need to do that.’ It’s something we need to do.”