Texas Neighbors Spring 2016 : Page 10

TEXAS NEIGHBORS | SPRING 2016 By Ed Wolff Video Services Director Worst flood ever. That’s what folks along the southern end of the Sabine River called it. Because the rains came. And came. Bringing with them torrential problems. After about 18 inches of rain, the floodgates at the Toledo Bend reservoir had to be opened. And Texans downstream paid the price. “We’re about three miles south of the dam, and we were just overcome with water here,” Devon Harrison said. She and her husband, Rob, raise horses and cattle in the small town of Bon Weir about three miles west of the Sabine River, which sepa-rates Texas and Louisiana. This East Texas community became a lake as floodwaters rose to 45 feet, 13 feet over flood stage. And it turned the Harrisons’ Diamond H Ranch into a raging river. “My husband and I made the decision to stay behind with our animals,” Harrison said. “We have 22 head of cows. We have 14 horses, 10 dogs and three cats. We thought our best bet was to stay behind so we could feed and care for our animals.” As they stayed behind, the water continued to rise. It was chest deep in some places. Eventually the Harrisons had to be rescued by helicopter. A few days later, they were able to get back to their ranch to check on their animals and survey the damage. Some of their horses had to be rescued from a sinkhole. All their livestock needed feed. So they found a way to get it to them. First by boat. Then by tractor. And neighbors and friends pitched in to help. Including local business owners like Randy Fussell, who owns a feed store in town. “A lot of people with animals have come to see us. We tried to get hay and feed to them the best we could,” Fussell, who is the Jasper County Farm Bureau vice president, said. “We’ve hauled hay in a boat. Never done that before. We’re even boarding some animals for some of them.” The pasture behind Fussell’s feed store is now home to goats from local ranchers who have nowhere to keep them. Some he even helped rescue by boat. But his help didn’t stop there. Fussell has even opened lines of credit at his store for farmers and ranchers he knows were hit hard, telling folks to come get what they need. And worry about paying later. “That’s just what you do in a small town. You got to do it. They’d do it for us, so we do it for them,” Fussell said. The water is now receding. And cleanup begins. It will take months for things to return to normal. Pastures still have standing water. And most ranchers lost all their hay. It’s a long road ahead. Harrison knows even with the struggles, they were fortunate. They didn’t lose a single animal, including six newborn calves. Some in the area weren’t so lucky. But this community, like others along the river, are determined to help each other through. “The local feed stores, the local grocery stores—I mean everybody has just opened up their doors and given with their whole heart,” Har-rison said. And it’s that giving spirit that will help flooded families carry on. WWW.TEXASFARMBUREAU.ORG

Flooded Families

Ed Wolff

Worst flood ever. That’s what folks along the southern end of the Sabine River called it.

Because the rains came. And came. Bringing with them torrential problems.

After about 18 inches of rain, the floodgates at the Toledo Bend reservoir had to be opened. And Texans downstream paid the price.

“We’re about three miles south of the dam, and we were just overcome with water here,” Devon Harrison said.

She and her husband, Rob, raise horses and cattle in the small town of Bon Weir about three miles west of the Sabine River, which separates Texas and Louisiana.

This East Texas community became a lake as floodwaters rose to 45 feet, 13 feet over flood stage.

And it turned the Harrisons’ Diamond H Ranch into a raging river.

“My husband and I made the decision to stay behind with our animals,” Harrison said. “We have 22 head of cows. We have 14 horses, 10 dogs and three cats. We thought our best bet was to stay behind so we could feed and care for our animals.”

As they stayed behind, the water continued to rise. It was chest deep in some places.

Eventually the Harrisons had to be rescued by helicopter.

A few days later, they were able to get back to their ranch to check on their animals and survey the damage.

Some of their horses had to be rescued from a sinkhole. All their livestock needed feed.

So they found a way to get it to them. First by boat. Then by tractor. And neighbors and friends pitched in to help. Including local business owners like Randy Fussell, who owns a feed store in town.

“A lot of people with animals have come to see us. We tried to get hay and feed to them the best we could,” Fussell, who is the Jasper County Farm Bureau vice president, said. “We’ve hauled hay in a boat. Never done that before. We’re even boarding some animals for some of them.”

The pasture behind Fussell’s feed store is now home to goats from local ranchers who have nowhere to keep them. Some he even helped rescue by boat.

But his help didn’t stop there.

Fussell has even opened lines of credit at his store for farmers and ranchers he knows were hit hard, telling folks to come get what they need. And worry about paying later.

“That’s just what you do in a small town. You got to do it. They’d do it for us, so we do it for them,” Fussell said.

The water is now receding. And cleanup begins.

It will take months for things to return to normal. Pastures still have standing water. And most ranchers lost all their hay. It’s a long road ahead.

Harrison knows even with the struggles, they were fortunate. They didn’t lose a single animal, including six newborn calves.

Some in the area weren’t so lucky.

But this community, like others along the river, are determined to help each other through.

“The local feed stores, the local grocery stores—I mean everybody has just opened up their doors and given with their whole heart,” Harrison said.

And it’s that giving spirit that will help flooded families carry on.

Read the full article at http://texasneighbors.texasfarmbureau.org/article/Flooded+Families/2453318/297556/article.html.

Previous Page  Next Page


Publication List
Using a screen reader? Click Here