Lane, Nicholas, and Willa Gresham sit next to the donations that filled a U-Haul and would be driven by their parents, Mike and Heather Gresham, to Texas to donate to those in need. (Photo By Cassie Shaw)
Hurricane Harvey left a path of destruction and flooding in its wake over a huge portion of Texas, Louisiana, and southern Arkansas the last week of August, 2017. At least 40 people lost their lives and around 95,000 homes were damaged or destroyed. Though we in northwest Missouri were sitting high and dry as this historic flooding took place, some with Atchison County ties were fighting to save their lives and possessions. Many former county residents now live in Texas near the coast, including Heather and Mike Gresham and their four children of Aransas Pass, Texas.
Heather is a 2003 Tarkio High School graduate and daughter of Steve and Carol Riley of Tarkio. The Greshams were forced to evacuate Texas as Hurricane Harvey neared the coast. They came to Tarkio to ride out the storm. Word from friends and neighbors and pictures sent to them had shown their home was intact, besides some missing shingles on the roof. However, as they were packing to head back to Texas, they were notified by their property management firm, Allied Orion Group in Houston, that they and the other 100 plus residents of the South Texas Military Housing Community of Windy Shores in Aransas Pass must vacate their homes in five days. The company is citing flood, wind, and mold damage.
Despite the devastating news that they are now homeless in an area devasted by a hurricane (they were offered a temporary place to rent from a friend), they still thought of others and asked for donations to take to those in need. They rented a U-Haul and with the help of family and friends in northwest Missouri and southwest Iowa, filled it with essentials. They headed back to Texas Wednesday, September 6, with the donations to be delivered to Oakridge Baptist Church in Portland, Texas, which will hand out the supplies. When they reached their home they were allowed to salvage their possessions that they had been unable to take with them. There was mold growing in their home making it unlivable.