Recovery from Harvey expected to take a long time
By Donna Hill
For the Fort Bend Star
Flood recovery from Hurricane Harvey will be ongoing in Fort Bend County for months, maybe years.
In Sienna Plantation and Riverstone, residents along with volunteers are helping others rebuild their lives and their homes. They are tearing out sheetrock, insulation and removing other soggy debris. They’re offering help wherever it’s needed.
In Missouri City, Courtney Scott and her husband volunteer at Houston’s First Baptist Church, setting up a staging area in Sienna Plantation, managing supplies and preparing them to be distributed to families devastated by Harvey. She is gathering goods for as long as needed, distributing to whomever may need it.
Star of Hope, Second Mile Mission, and The Food Bank in Fresno are some of the organization that need help, Scott said.
“It’s amazing to see the community come together,” said Tyler, Courtney’s husband. “People supplying donations, setting up tents through the neighborhood here in Sienna. If you drive throughout the neighborhood you see tents everywhere with supplies for residents and volunteers. If you need a mask, if you need some cleaning supplies you just grab what you need, it’s there. Kids are passing out Gatorade door-to-door. It’s just really cool to see the community come together here in Sienna and in Riverstone. Neighbor’s helping neighbors, which is great.”
Sienna Plantation, doing its own rebuilding after a tornado and extensive flooding, have brought together a group of volunteers to help Riverstone, the community which sits across the levee from Sienna Plantation.
Halfway between Sienna Plantation and Riverstone, on Sienna Ranch Road, Andrea Lawrie set up a tent where residents have been dropping off cases of water and bags of ice for volunteers and homeowners. The tent location is before the bridge that connects the two communities. Lawrie, a Sienna resident, calls the stop The First Aid Tent at the Levee.
“After the flood, the road was blocked off,” Lawrie said. “The first day people had to park here for miles – especially the ones who lived in Riverstone. They were walking into their homes for the first time after the hurricane, and some had to walk at least two miles, from car to the entrance … then there was knee deep water, so they had to walk through that to their homes. I knew there were hundreds of people walking and I knew they would need water and ice.”
She helped set up a Facebook page, Sienna Strong, which helped communicate information to residents.
“On Sunday, the road opened, and someone posted on our Facebook page about whether anyone was going to be taking food to the volunteers. So I thought let’s set up food here, too. Our neighborhood at Sienna really came together. Hundreds of people have volunteered time, water, food. Everything was paid for by residents,” she said.
Over the bridge, past the levee, is the community of Riverstone, where Martin Garza and John Nelson, volunteers from St. Laurence Catholic Church in Sugar Land, found work in one of the many yards where homes are being emptied of furniture, sheetrock and insulation. He and Nelson were taking out flooring, carpet, and trash out of flooded homes. Noting the community efforts, Garza, who has devoted years to volunteering, said he “will stay here volunteering as long as they need me. Some neighbors in the Riverstone community were not affected by the flood, but the entire community are helping each other.”
In Riverstone, one resident surveying her home and yard destroyed by the flood, was optimistic about the future, refusing to be defeated.
“We will be OK. We will get our home clean and brand new again. It will be good,” she said.