(Photo: Lou Ellen Hatchett, seated, was joyful during the recent dedication of her restored home.)
Lou Ellen Hatchett has a crystal-clear message for all those folks — often dirty and sweaty — who kept marching in and out of her house earlier this year while she just wanted to return to the Friendswood, Texas, home that had been flooded by Hurricane Harvey last summer:
Please come back to see me!
Her home has been restored thanks to the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders and dozens of good-hearted volunteers who came to East Texas to help their fellow Americans get back into their homes.
Hatchett’s home sits several miles east of downtown Houston and just a few miles west of Galveston Bay. Nearby Clear Creek was one of many calm waterways in the area that became watery monsters after Harvey dumped rains measured in feet instead of inches in late August and early September. This is the area that is now flooded with good-hearted volunteers instead of rain, thanks to the work of groups like the Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders. Still, reminders of the summer disaster abound.
“Here I am, sharing many blessings, while so so sad so many still hurt so deeply, hoping I’m able in some way to help them,” she wrote to the Disaster ReBuilders during a recent sleepless night when thoughts of the disaster and the recovery were spinning through her mind. She recalled how rising Clear Creek, “caused so many homes totally covered with water only two blocks from my home, from this biblical Harvey non-ending hurricane disaster that still looks just as it did when it first happened — so many neighbors who will never be able to move back into their homes.”
Many, though, are being helped by team after team of volunteers working through the Disaster ReBuilders. Hatchett is thankful for each one who came to help her. She called the volunteers who came from across the nation, “my new families — forever welcome to come again soon and be part of my life in my home as lifelong family and friends. … I wouldn’t have a home if it hadn’t been for them.”
“I don’t want to live alone anymore,” she added, “so I must reach out to my new friends and assure them of a genuine welcome to my home at any time. Just come see me — as real friends and neighbors.”