Story and photos by Bonnie Robert Will 

“It was raining and thundering and I cannot sleep when it is thundering,” recalls Jessica Smith. “My daughter came over from across the street and said ‘Ya’ll, we need to leave now,’ and I said why?” 

“I went outside and saw the water almost to the door and realized she was right.”  

After calling for help, Smith, her fiancé, her daughter, and three grandchildren, got into a rescue boat that took them to the shelter at Turning Point Church. “I don’t know the people’s names; I wish I did.” During the trip, her fiancé had a seizure. “He was getting wet and cold. I am so grateful for Turning Point Church and the Red Cross.” The family stayed for two days before returning home to discover that their homes had suffered major damage. 

“I was looking for some help,” Smith continues, “So I first went to the community center in Orange and talked to the Red Cross.” Caseworkers there helped the two families with resources and financial assistance. 

“It will help us right now with clothes and food because we lost all our food,” Smith said when asked what it means to her to get the financial assistance she received from the Red Cross. “My grandkids are 8, 11, and two 13-year old’s and live with me so this will really help.” 

Smith says she is doing okay, but her fiancé is not. “He wakes up in the middle of the night having nightmares, shouting, “It’s flooding!” Jessica tries to calm him down. His seizure medicine was lost it in the flood, they were able to get more after receiving help from the Red Cross and others.  

Like others who flooded with Imelda’s pounding nonstop rain, this family has a long road to recovery, but they are survivors.  

“Thank you, Red Cross. Ya’ll are amazing.” Jessica said.