Steven & Vanessa Cantu meet with a Red Cross caseworker at the Red Cross office in Rosenburg, TX. Photo credit: Mallory Scheve/American Red Cross

By Mallory Scheve – American Red Cross
Vanessa Cantu and her husband, Steven sat quietly together in a Red Cross service center in Rosenberg, TX, waiting for a caseworker to call their name. The Cantus had been through a lot in a week. Their home had been inundated with more than five feet of water. “By the time I found out it was going to flood, we were already flooded,” said Vanessa. Since then they’ve been forced to separate and stay with relatives wherever space was available.

The Cantus have spent their lives helping others, so they aren’t used to being the ones who need help. Steven Cantu was honorably discharged after serving in the Army and now works with special needs children at the local school. Vanessa is a school bus driver. Steve’s parents live with them. It’s been challenging for them to find housing that accepts VA benefits with no down payment. They’ve only been in their current home for two months and they have no flood insurance. “Getting out of there and getting somewhere new, it’s going to be hard,” says Vanessa.

Damage in the Cantu’s home in Richmond, TX. Photo credit: Vanessa Cantu

They haven’t been able to return home yet, but Vanessa’s father stopped by the house and snapped photos. He sent them in a text that just read, “Here’s what your house looks like now.” The damage is extensive. The 5-plus feet of water that inundated their first floor ruined everything and left a thick layer of mud and debris on the floors. The rising water tossed appliances around like toys and destroyed nearly everything they owned.

Damage in the Cantu’s home in Richmond, TX. Photo credit: Vanessa Cantu

Vanessa wasn’t worried about her own belongings, though. She’s a quilter and makes keepsake quilts for families in her community. She was working on piecing together a quilt made from cherished t-shirts for a customer when the flood hit. She had anxiously watched news coverage of her neighborhood, hoping the flood waters wouldn’t rise so high that they’d reach the second floor. Thankfully her projects were spared, since Vanessa said that quilt was, “the one thing I feared losing the most.”

Steven did lose his most prized possession in the flood. He had been rebuilding a truck that had belonged to his grandfather. He had been lovingly restoring it and had nearly completed the project when his hard work was claimed by the rising waters. “I wanted to take my grandfather out for one more ride in it when it was all nice, but now it’s gone,” said Steven.

Despite losing so much, the Cantus remained optimistic and cheerful as they met with a Red Cross caseworker. They were extremely grateful for the Red Cross assistance they received that will help them get back on their feet. “It will be hard to rebuild, but we’ll do it,” said Steven. “I’ll take my grandfather for a ride in his truck someday.”

Damage in the Cantu’s home in Richmond, TX. Photo credit: Vanessa Cantu

All Red Cross assistance is provided free of charge and made possible by the generosity of the public. To donate to Red Cross Disaster Relief and help families like the Cantus affected by disasters big and small, visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

To join the Red Cross as a disaster responder, visit, enter your home zip code and select “Disaster Services” as your area of interest. Local volunteers are needed now to help the Red Cross provide disaster relief across Texas.