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Patricia Morehead
Patricia Morehead

SECC Testimonial: Red Cross helps family recover from flood of '98

By Patricia Morehead
Senior Administrative Associate, Facilities Services, Downtown Campus

Editor's note: On Oct. 17-18, 1998, an unusual storm system produced record rainfall leading to severe flooding all across South and Central Texas. In San Antonio, nearly 12 inches of rain fell in 24 hours. According the U.S. Geological Survey, most of the flooding occurred in the San Antonio and Guadalupe River basins. Thousands of people were affected by the flooding and 31 deaths were recorded.

(Oct. 17, 2008)--Ten years ago this October, most of my family lost their homes and possessions as a result of the catastrophic flood of 1998. We lived in Cibolo, Texas, a small community near Randolph Air Force Base. My husband, son and I had just moved to the community. My father and brother and their families also lived in Cibolo, as did my stepsister and her family.

That October morning my extended family found ourselves with about 30 minutes to evacuate ahead of the rising floodwaters of Cibolo Creek. The volunteer fire department took us to safety. When we returned five days later, just about everything in our home was destroyed. Most of my family lost everything too. Luckily, my sister was able to take us in temporarily.

The American Red Cross [SECC code 415009] was such a blessing in the days, weeks and months that followed. They came by with meals as we sorted through what was left in our destroyed home, trying to salvage what we could. Unfortunately, that wasn't much. Water and mud had risen four feet into the house. The most precious possession I lost was an antique family Bible, which I'd just had restored."

Looking back, the assistance given us was what kept us going. Within a week we were given vouchers for clothing, towels and food by the Red Cross. A few weeks later we were given vouchers for mattresses, and then three months of rental assistance. Other help was offered, including counseling, financial and legal assistance.

In a disaster, there is so much need. The Red Cross was our "first responder" and a great support. Within a few months our insurance claim was paid, and we were on the way to becoming self-sufficient again. We relocated to Poteet, just south of San Antonio.

Thanks to the Red Cross we made it through the worst disaster of our lives, and we were treated with respect and dignity. They are my chosen charity in the SECC. Thank you again, Red Cross!

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