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Photo by: Allison V. Smith

I was relocated here after my home was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey. Though this was the first time we were forced to move, Harvey wasn’t my first storm. I grew up in a family where drugs and chaos were the main ingredients. Before the Hurricane, I had only ever called Port Arthur home. I was working full time, and doing my best to balance that with motherhood. I’m the mother of two beautiful children. A ten-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter. It was terrifying when the storm hit. My children and I were evacuated by helicopter from our flooded home. We were placed in a shelter here in Fort Worth and that’s where I met Brian, my Catholic Charities case manager. We were terrified, but he made our transition here so comfortable. Catholic Charities has helped us get an apartment, assisted with bills, and helped me get my kids back into school. The storm uprooted us, but it also brought with it a newness and opportunities and experiences we wouldn’t have had before. One of these experiences was recently when we were given a chance to spend the day at the zoo. It sounds like a small thing, but to me, it’s not. Being able to give my children something as simple as a memory to the zoo means the world to me. Recently, my son, my daughter, and I were baptized at our new church. As I approached the water, my mind went back to that August night. I remember praying for the storm to cease, for the water to break, I remember praying for our lives. After surviving, I remember seeing the destruction the water left behind. As I stepped into the tank, I realized my prayers were answered that night. With a mightier power of salvation, that same water that destroyed me washed me clean. The storm broke my home, it broke my family…and it broke away the chains that kept me tied to the past I was drowning in. See, that’s the thing about water. The same force it has to destroy has the power to save. It has the power to bring opportunity, to bring hope, to bring success…the same water that brings destructions has the power to give you a new beginning.”


Brandy was featured recently in a piece from KERA’s One Crisis Away. Listen to the story on NPR here.

Learn more about how you can help with Harvey recovery efforts here.