Stories in Photos: Staying Resilient in the Face of Loss

Sep 14, 2017 11:57:07 PM

The Lazy River subdivision, just outside of Sealy, Texas, has one entrance in and out. And it’s a tiny bridge that stretches over a gentle flowing creek. As Hurricane Harvey hovered over this piece of Texas, it threw down unprecedented amounts of water causing this creek to overflow its banks and flood the houses that sit beside it.

Returning home to see the damage left behind in the hurricane’s wake has been emotionally devastating for the individuals who call this little pocket community home.  But if there’s a silver lining, it’s that in times of tragedy and complete loss like theirs, it’s the simple moments and small reminders of what’s truly important that come to the surface and keep them going.

Three of these homeowners were kind enough to walk with us, a writer, photographer and art director in the immediate days after having their lives turned upside down. Each shared with us what happened in the hours leading up to their evacuation, where they are on their long path to recovery and what it means to have Keller Williams be part of their story.

God was so busy he sent his angels. Thank you Keller Williams.

Ofelia Montoya

This is the third flood Montoya has experienced while living in the Lazy River subdivision. 

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We had seven feet of water. You can see the water line. That’s where it started. 

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The only reason we got out was because we were scared we were going to get stuck. After I found out it flooded, I thought, God just wants to clean my house again.

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When we evacuated, our dogs came with us. They stayed in a trailer 20 minutes away from our hotel. We would come let them out in the morning and afternoon. My pets are everything to me.

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I lost my job the Monday before the flood. After, I prayed, asking God to come. I told Pastor Rusty that God was so busy he sent his angels to help us. Thank you, Keller Williams. 

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Every morning I thank God for another day. Last year when we were flooded out, I cooked. I remember my son saying, "Mom, you're happy." I won't stop cooking. 

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I thank y'all. It’s hard for you. It hurts your heart and you are probably thinking, I get to go back to my house, but don’t feel bad.  I have a home; I’m just houseless right now. I have my husband, kids and animals. This is home. This is my joy. 

We are forever grateful for you.

Kathy Murdoch

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On the Sunday of the flood, the creek bed came up one foot in 45 minutes. We left before the roads became impassable. 

After the Brazos River flooded in 2016, Murdoch and her husband elevated their home four feet. This year, the flood brought nearly three feet of water into their home. 

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You guys have been such a blessing. Last year, my husband was recovering from triple bypass surgery after our home flooded. We had our friends come help us. This year, I told him we couldn’t do that again and asked for help. You've taken a lot of mental stress off of us. I was in the hospital with him and could see it in his face when I left; he was rested.

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This is just a house. My husband and I make it a home. We have each other and our crazy dog, so life is good. 

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This is my only closet in the house, so by all means take a photo of it!

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Before Hurricane Harvey, Murdoch and her husband were planning to have a Labor Day party with friends. Instead of being disapointed, Murdoch is full of gratitude for her new friends and loves seeing her community come together. 

You came here and helped. That means a lot to us. 

Jorge and Justin Perez 

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Jorge (Left): When this happened, we were very lucky to leave on time because the only entrance/exit to our home is through the creek. Thankfully, a neighbor called me at 5:00 a.m. and told me the creek was getting high. I was able to take my wife, son, daughter, and pets and leave to the next town. 

Justin (Right): Since we had the same experience, we knew where we had to go.

This is the second flood the Perez family has experienced while living in the Lazy River subdivision. 

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Jorge: I’m feeling thankful nothing happened to my family and that Keller Williams sent a lot of people to help us. Also, for the church. We’ve been blessed. Going through this alone would be very difficult. 

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This is their land. We're sharing it. 

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Jorge: Anytime we hear of someone thinking about buying or selling a house, I am going to tell them to work with KW. You came here and helped. That means a lot to us. 

Thank you Ofelia, Kathy, Justin and Jorge for letting us into your lives. 

- Lalaina Rabary (words), Ryan Kelly (photos), Caitlin McIntosh (artistic direction)

We Need Your Help!

Since Harvey made landfall, thousands of Keller Williams associates have gathered together across the state of Texas, helping families clean out their homes.

The ongoing need to support individuals affected by Hurricane Harvey, and now Hurricane Irma, is a great one.

Join us by contributing to KW Cares’ RED Relief fund. Your donation will be used to provide emergency grants, equipment and the supplies necessary to rebuild the lives of those who in many cases have lost everything.


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