BY ERIC CORMIER
DALLAS – For those who know they don’t have a home to go back to, the unknown is almost too much to handle, but at least they have a place to lay their heads and people to help and watch over them.
An estimated 350,000 hurricane evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are sheltered in northeast Texas, according to state authorities. Shelter officials with the Salvation Army, Red Cross and church organizations are keeping a close eye on supplies that are running thin.
Evacuees like David and Christine Goodness, of Stingray Drive in Lake Charles, appreciate all the food, hot water, bedding and acts of kindness that have been provided to them in Marshall, Texas.
“We live in Country Pines subdivision and a man told us it is no more,” David, an Isle of Capri employee, said. “But that’s what we expected from the storm.”
Christine, who worked at a storage business in Lake Charles that may or may not be standing, worries about money and employment, but she knows that things could be worse.
“I never thought we would have ever been in a shelter. But this is 100 times better than what we saw at the Louisiana Superdome. There’s decent food here and a decent place to sleep. We have nothing to complain about,” she said.
All the Goodness’ have to worry about is the two of them -- unlike the 41 members of the Galmore family who are from north Lake Charles.
They left last Thursday, hours before Hurricane Rita made landfall.
“We got to Texas on Friday. We went to Many first, but at the First Pentecostal Church, they kicked us out because the lights were going out. As we left, the lights came back on but we still had to leave as the bad weather was coming in. God was with us on the road,” said Ronald Galmore, who lives on Colletta Street.
The Galmore clan ended up splitting up and spreading to shelters and homes in Fort Worth and Dallas.
As a group, they have found open arms at the Salvation Army office in Arlington, a block from Texas-Arlington University.
Shelia Galmore, of Elaine Street, knows her home is still standing, but suffered wind and tree damage.
“It’s all horrible. My heart went out to the people from New Orleans. We in Lake Charles stepped out and opened our hearts and arms and gave them everything we had after Hurricane Katrina,” she said.
She thinks the same support wasn’t shown to Lake Charles evacuees of Hurricane Rita.
“In Leesville, we slept outside. A police officer took us to a church, but they had no room. In Shreveport there were no shelters and they asked us to go to Minden. We had to call a phone number and find the shelter at a Kroger’s. At least the woman at the store helped us. Then we ended up with six other numbers but got tired calling so we went to Texas, where our family is,” she said.
High emotions caused by stress, lack of sleep and hunger made life unpleasant for the Galmore clan.
“We are a big family. You will never find us arguing or fussing, but I have to say the devil got in and we started fighting among each other,” Galmore said.
At the moment, the in-fighting has stopped among the Galmores, and like the Goodnesses, they are counting down the days down when they can go home and contend with whatever inconveniences await them there.
“At least we have our family,” Sheila Galmore said.
Thursday, September 29
BY ERIC CORMIER
Posted by American Press at 4:46 PM