National News

Lives, belongings & family left behind as Harvey evacuees reach Dallas

Posted August 28

— The signs have flashed ominously across DFW for days:

"HURRICANE WARNING TEXAS COAST...AVOID TRAVEL TO TEXAS COAST"

The implication isn't subtle. Don't travel South. The hell of Hurricane Harvey awaits.

Headed North along those same roads? Cars full of kids, adults, blankets, bags, turtle pillows, and even fish.

"We didn't know when we were going to be able to come back, so we decided to take our little fish with us," Houston evacuee Raven Radley told NewsFix. "He's been a trooper."

Radley and Troy Van Reenen couldn't bare to leave their beloved Bubbles behind, and he didn't have a choice in the matter.

Family members of evacuees, on the other hand, did have the right to choose, and many decided to hunker down.

"My mom and my step father stayed behind. They felt like they would ride it out, and everything would be okay," Tomball evacuee Roshell Walker said.

When asked if it was tough leaving family behind in the danger zone, all she could muster through tears was, "Yeah..."

For now, those who fled wait at Dallas recreation centers that have been transformed into shelters. The Walnut Hill Rec Center was full Saturday morning, 300 in all taking shelter there. The Tommie Allen Rec Center was opened in response, and people were steadily trickling in.

"Just making sure that they know, 'Hey, we've got you. Come in. We've got food, we've got shelter," American Red Cross volunteer Valerie Martinez said her goal is right now.

Those coming off the road do so with a whirlwind evacuation in their recent past...

"We were packing, and he was just, 'Gotta go, gotta go,'" Radley said.

Only the necessities in their bags...

"I brought my children's birth certificates and their medical records," Walker said. "I brought my social security card and everything, so if we needed to start over, just the bare necessities."

And an uncertain future on their minds.

"To our family in Houston who's in Third Ward, you know we love you," Radley said. "We know you're strong, and we know you're going to be all right."

Hurricanes destroy. They destroy beaches, homes, and cities. These people's prayers are that they don't destroy families too.

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