Other Voices

Hurricane Harvey swept me to Fort Worth, into welcoming arms of Salvation Army

A Hurricane Harvey survivor who landed in Fort Worth gratefully recommends supporting the Salvation Army.
A Hurricane Harvey survivor who landed in Fort Worth gratefully recommends supporting the Salvation Army. AP file photo

I am a Hurricane Harvey survivor from Port Arthur, Texas, who had just graduated with an Executive Master of Public Administration degree in May 2017, just before the arrival of the storm in August 2017.

Due to unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances experienced in the aftermath of the storm, I found myself homeless in Fort Worth.

This was a first-time experience for me that brought to life what is really meant by the phrases “saving for a rainy day” and “one paycheck away from riding the bus or homelessness.”

I liken my experience to a coin. One side is heads while the other is tails. After having three hurricanes and two mandatory evacuations behind me, along with my recent graduation, I chose to believe that Harvey would soon reduce to a tropical storm and those who evacuated would soon be returning home where I had planned to stay.

Despite my plans the rain kept coming, so I took a nap thinking when I arose it would all be over. Much to my surprise, I woke up to water that was one inch short of being level with the top of my mattress.

I grabbed my laptop and headed toward the door in water that was about thigh high. Then I saw a boat coming in my direction to rescue me. It was as if I was watching the news, but this time it was in 3D, and I was actually part of the news.

When we were finally allowed to return, all was lost with the exception of my vehicle, which made me one of the lucky ones.

When my mother and I, who lived in separate dwellings, were rescued by the National Guard we had no idea where they were taking us by plane. It turned out to be DFW; then I saw Joel Osteen on the television saying, “God may not remove the storm but he is able to direct the winds to blow you exactly where you need to be.”

This was confirmation for me.

When the Salvation Army says it is “Doing the most good,” I am a witness who may attest to that fact.

The Fort Worth facility is clean, and it has great case management to hold you accountable for moving toward self-sufficiency. The food is both appetizing and healthy. The cooks are always happy and hospitable. The head cook is always singing, laughing or joking. It is abundantly clear she enjoys what she does, and the proof is always evident in the product she prepares for the residents there. She is supervised by a seasoned chef who takes great pride in his work.

The Salvation Army has individual rooms consisting of two persons per room. Each room is responsible for chores once-weekly. In the event those chores are not completed in the designated time, there is disciplinary action that consists of community service within the Salvation Army building.

I, myself, through oversight on two occasions, did miss my weekly chore duty and was assigned community service. The reproof given me, I considered no-harm-no-foul — realizing that imposed discipline gives birth to self-discipline, which only benefits me.

Fort Worth has the most homeless people I have ever seen in my life. For those with a genuine heart for the betterment of the less fortunate who want to ensure they are actually helping humanity, I urge you to please make the Salvation Army your nonprofit of choice. It is an organization passionately committed to empowering those who aspire to independence and self-sufficiency.

Please support the Salvation Army Ministries. They truly are “Doing the Most Good”!