A Vernon teacher was visiting family in Houston, Texas when she was caught in the middle of Hurricane Harvey.
Melissa Overend (or Mrs. Overend to her students at Vernon Christian School,) was deep in the heart of Texas when the storm struck.
She is a Texan who now loves living in Vernon. She had flown down to her hometown of Houston for her sister’s wedding.
“Unexpectedly, and at times incredibly frightening, I have found myself experiencing this devastation with millions of others,” wrote Overend, who added she was meant to be home on Sunday but her flights keep getting cancelled.
“Despite being overwhelmed by the destruction of many, many Houstonian homes, and the impact this trauma will have on Houstonian lives in the months to come, I see God’s arms lovingly holding these people close and placing his workers throughout the city to help them.
“Seeing lives being saved, people helping people, rescues by Good Samaritans, the coast guard, fire and rescue, police and other city workers alike in action. I’m glad to be here: to be alive and well and with my Texan family.”
Overend explains that there are millions of people in Houston alone.
“It’s not hard to do some math and realize from TV images alone how a million homes could easily have been affected by this storm. Easy. I deeply ache for those who lost their lives or homes,” she continued.
“Like the constant, heart-pounding dreadful sound of rain that has etched a path in many of our minds here these past four days, one cannot escape seeing the destruction.”
She said that the media is not sensationalizing this story and that what you see is an accurate portrayal.
“The persistent rain and flooding, people being trapped and rescued, countless tornado warnings are TRUE and REAL. Annual rainfall averages fell only in a matter of a few days.”
She said she has been inspired by the acts of kindness and help that she has witnessed in so many ways,. Her own sister used her phone and Facebook to arrange rescue boats and work with the community to help in anyway she could.
“Countless people are in this spontaneous, civilian relief effort to help and support others escape rising waters and reach dry shelters,” added Overend.
“From boat rescues, delivering water, supplies and toiletries, to offering car rides to total strangers, these people are giving of themselves to serve others.”
Overend said she is “thankful to the Lord” that her family is all safe and that every day it feels like her eyes are playing tricks on her as she looks out to see her hometown under water.