Story and photos by Marco Bracamontes, Red Cross contributor

The Vera family will never forget the day Tropical Storm Imelda hit the Beaumont region. The East Texas residents had never flooded in 15 years and considered their home a safe place until heavy rain from Imelda caused them to evacuate.  

“We kept track of how fast the water was raising by making marks on a clay plant pot in the front of the house,” says Fatima Vera, the mother of four. “We started putting stuff in elevated places in our one-floor home,” she says. “We even put our horse on a trailer to save its life,” she added.  

The Veras received a visit from Red Cross damage assessment volunteers and shortly thereafter, the family visited the Jefferson County Multi-Agency Resource Center (MARC) at the Beaumont Civic Center.  

At the MARC, Latino Engagement Team member Lilia Barron volunteered to serve as a Spanish translator for Vera when she met with a Red Cross case worker.  

During the interview, Vera described the water level in her home as “Around two feet,” which was deemed as major damages. When asked about health or mental health needs, Vera replied: “One of my daughters has asthma, but she didn’t receive medical support during the storm.”  Both are areas where the Red Cross is able to help. 

After the interview, Vera received immediate assistance from the Red Cross. Her family plans to use the funds to buy materials to replace the floor of their home. She was referred to community agencies that could help with other needs.  

Fatima Vera, her husband, and children are currently living with her mother, who was not affected by the storm. However, they are planning to move back to their flooded home after repairs are made. “Thanks to the Red Cross, we may be able to be back in our place in around ten days,” she concluded.