Six months after Hurricane Harvey floods, La Grange rebounds with volunteer help
It's now been six months since heavy rainfall from Hurricane Harvey resulted in historic flooding in Bastrop and Fayette counties. But the recovery effort is progressing thanks to volunteers who continue to make their pilgrimage into the flood zone to help.
When disaster strikes there no shortage of volunteers rushing in to help. But six months later only a few have the time and the resources to be helping. Among them are the Mennonites.
“Ain't no way we could have done all this ourselves,” says Daniel Olenick. “Just lots and lots of work." Olenick is now getting to see the remains of his once flood-ravaged house turning back into his home one day at a time. He couldn't afford to hire contractors to do everything, but church groups like the Mennonites have been in La Grange for six months now helping with cleanup and repairs.
"Every week they have a new crew coming out and there would be new people coming to our house every week," says Olenick. His house needed a lot of love. It's been in his wife's family since the 1950s.
But Olenick is by no means alone. Mark Lehmann is rebuilding, too, after the Colorado River unexpectedly rose into his home. Lehmann says, “Previous to this flood the water's never even been in my driveway before. So it was about 8 or 10 feet higher than that. So it was a big bad surprise."
The damage is easy to see. He had to empty his house into the yard so the repairs could begin. "I'm a semi-retired musician,” he said explaining the various damaged music instruments and sound equipment in his front yard. “I lost just about all my stuff, but I'm going to bounce back,” he says repeating the mantra, “I'm going to bounce back.”
The Mennonites have been a frequent presence at his Lehmann’s house since the flood. “I saw the finest of America after that flood," he says. But he understands they have other people they're helping in this long term recovery effort.