August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey hit the land of Texas as a category 4 with wind speeds exceeding 130 mph.
Combined with an even greater rainfall, as of September 1st, Houston was considered one-third underwater. Search and rescues were happening around the clock, shelters filled up past capacity, and resources were at a minimum.
Texas was having a “state of emergency”.
The heaviness was deep inside my heart, I could not let what was going on pass by. Many people get these emotions; some get the opportunity to act.
Within 36 hours of a friend leaving to go out there, I made some phone calls, packed my bags, and hit the road. As I drove through the flooded areas, the damage was clear.
As I went into these house, the people were devastated. Families were instructed to throw away everything with water damage. Beds, dressers, furnitures, stoves, fridges, clothes, food, pictures, papers, EVERYTHING. Mold was growing up the walls as quickly as the water was leaving the building. Demolition was being advised as soon as possible but where do you start?
Carpet, tile, wood flooring was being removed. Walls were being ripped out and everything being placed on the sidewalk to be picked up by Waste Management. Phone calls were being returned, insurances denying claims, and FEMA waiting to see what they could provided. While in Texas, I lived with a friend who is a Pastor of a local community church, Calvary Chapel Katy. With the help of other Calvary Chapels, we would knock on doors and offer our time free of charge. Upon partnering families with their struggle, I was able to befriend them, tell them life stories and give them hope that this is not a conclusion but an opportunity.
We worked along side families until a house was just a frame and then we decontaminated each surface. Going home each night felt good. I was covered in sweat, sewage water and fiberglass dust; and when shower time came, it felt amazing.
But I AM NOT A HERO.
A wife, 1500 miles away, was still working. A wife 1500 miles away, was still cleaning. A wife 1500 miles awa,y was still going to school. A wife 1500 miles away, was still making sure my son had food, was dropped off and picked up at daycare, was loved and tucked in every night before bed.
You see, many men get the opportunity to use their skills and strengths in a public service way. Police, Firefighters, EMS, Military or even just during a natural disaster with bringing relief. But my family would fall without my wife. Because my wife is strong, compassionate, loving, kind, selfless, graceful, gentle; I am able to step out of the house to help the community. Before I come to a conclusion, I want to encourage you. Your husband may be away having great influence outside of the house, but he could not do this without YOU. Therefore, YOU ARE THE HERO.
About the Author:
Joshua Matranga, husband to Jaymi Matranga. Daddy to one precious son and two adopted daughters.