It has been three years since Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25, 2017. To Margarett Ramirez of Katy, it feels like yesterday.
During Hurricane Harvey, Ramirez and her husband left their home near Houston for a supply run and found themselves stuck inside their SUV with floodwaters rising around them.
“I can remember clearly the moment that I got really scared is whenever my husband was out of the car, trying to get it out, I was inside and I was looking over the window and I could see the water rise,” said Ramirez.
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“I was like, okay, this is it,” Ramirez continued. “We either drown here or we do something. The fact that we were far from home, we didn't know what to do.”
Ramirez said she and her husband abandoned their car and walked through high water. A good Samaritan, a stranger, let them spend the night. It would be five days before they would return home.
Texas Braces for Hurricane Laura
Stories of survival, near misses and tragic losses are not far from the minds of those who lived through Harvey in 2017 or Rita in 2005.
Hurricane Laura’s forecasted path in 2020 felt like a gut punch to Michael Garrett.
“Honestly, the first thing that happened was my heart dropped,” said Garrett - the CEO and Founder of Trusted World. The nonprofit became the main donation management entity in Dallas County during Harvey as it enlisted 20,000 volunteers to help sort donations for evacuees in North Texas and survivors in Houston.
“I remember Hurricane Harvey and I remember it well,” Garret said. “How is anyone going to be able to pull off a donation collection during a pandemic?”
Garrett said if Trusted World is asked to help again, it could scale up in about 24 hours. Garrett expects it would take more volunteers to distribute supplies to evacuees spread out across different hotels. He would also expect donation sorting to take place in a much larger space or in multiple spaces.
“I can’t imagine how anybody does anything normal when there is a pandemic. You’ve got to keep everyone separated and six feet apart and masks,” Garrett explained.
Garrett said he has seen people step up in tough times to help. He hopes that will continue as the hurricane danger is compounded by a pandemic.
“As humans, we’re very resilient. We always find a way to get through the worst and bring out the best and I saw that during Hurricane Harvey,” said Garrett.