MARBLE FALLS, Texas (KXAN) — Historic flooding along the Highland Lakes led to the formation of new disaster recovery groups that are still helping survivors one year later.
The banks of Lake Marble Falls overflowed on Oct. 16, 2018 and rushed up the sloping backyard into Charles and Patty Hundley’s home.
The Marble Falls Fire Department reported that the flood damaged a total of 71 homes and four commercial properties throughout the community.
“We had four to five feet of water all through the interior of the house,” Charles said. “It went down to about six inches the second day, and there was mud everywhere.”
The couple finally moved back into their house in May after months of cleanup and renovations.
“People from our church, people from the community, former students of ours, friends, total strangers came,” Patty said. “And they helped us day after day, hour after hour.”
At least 49 cases involving people affected by the flood are still receiving some kind of help from the Highland Lakes Crisis Network, which formed after the disaster last year.
“It’s certainly a blessing that has come out of something terrible,” Kevin Naumann said.
Naumann now serves as the executive director of the growing network of churches and other organizations that has given out $250,000 in donations to assist flood survivors. More money, however, is needed to pay for projects involving the people in those 49 open cases.
“Some of it is just replacing sheet rock and that sort of thing,” Naumann explained. “And then some all the way to the other end of the extreme of needing a completely new house.”
Some families who recently moved back into their homes found their pantries re-stocked thanks to Becca Schafer and her group, the Marble Falls Mom Squad. Last year she recruited 300 volunteers to do 700 loads of laundry for people who salvaged items from their damaged houses.
“What we’re going to do is create preparedness for the next crisis our community will face. We don’t know what it will be,” Schafer said. “But it will also — I hope — act as a model for other communities to follow. I think that what we’re creating is something that’s a blueprint that we can pass to other communities, so that they can help their own communities when they go through their own crises in the future.”
All of that help has truly touched those who needed it most, like Patty Hundley.
“You can’t know how much that meant,” she said Wednesday, smiling.
The Highland Lakes Crisis is currently working to collect more donations as well as recruit people to become “shepherds” in the future.
“In our organization the hope is to have ‘shepherds’ trained where we can pair one person with each survivor that can walk through the entire recovery process,” Naumann said. “We think that’s powerful because having that person to lean on, sometimes just to pray with, but also someone that can help them think clearly in a crisis is pretty important and life-changing.”
Recruiting efforts and training sessions will be held sometime in the months to come.