Story and photos by Elvia Alaniz and Marco Bracamontes, Red Cross contributors

Rick Cowan recalls his first encounter with the American Red Cross more than twenty years ago when a major flood happened in Liberty.   

After the flood, he volunteered his time at the First Baptist Shelter in Dayton where he helped the Red Cross by loading water and food into Emergency Response Vehicles. That firsthand experience opened his eyes to the mission of the Red Cross and taught him to appreciate the efforts to help those affected by natural disasters.  

“I would not be donating to the Red Cross if I didn’t see any good coming from it,” Cowan said.   

Cowan’s son and daughter-in-law were affected by the recent floods in Kingwood, as their garage took on about a foot of water and even creeped under the door and into the house.  

Red Cross volunteers were in the Kingwood community giving out cleanup kits including shovels, rakes, gloves and cleaning supplies. The Cowan family says the cleaning supplies they received from the Red Cross helped them clean and disinfect areas of their home touched by flood waters.   

In addition to handing out cleanup supplies, damage assessment teams are busy canvassing areas in southeast Texas. The Stowell community in Chambers County was hit hard by flooding.  Local communities are grateful for the response of the Red Cross as they relied on each other until help arrived.   

“We invited our next-door neighbors to stay with us during the storm, until our house started taking on water,” said Stowell community member Shaylynn Bourque. “It was really scary.”   

Shaylynn and her family was also provided supplies to begin the cleanup process, and her son nine-month-old Eli was given a Mickey Mouse toy from a Red Cross volunteer. Bourque added, “We felt so happy when we saw the Red Cross. You people do such great work with the whole community.”  

Red Cross volunteers continue to assess communities impacted by flooding caused by Imelda.  By Thursday, September 26, more than nine thousand clean up kits and supplies had been given to Texas Gulf Coast residents.