October 17th, 2011 at 9:26 am
I took the Rice BSM to help people begin the process of restoration of their homes in Bastrop, TX. It was amazing to see the scope of the damage with 1600 homes lost. I’d seen disasters like Hurricanes Ike and Katrina. With those, you see piles of trash for miles and miles, but in Bastrop there was no trash. There were just piles of ashes and hopes that we could find some little bit of a piece of a memory that they had before the fires hit their homes.
We worked with a lady named Cheryl on the first day. She lost everything and was out of town when the fires hit, so she wasn’t able to save her horses and other pets. As we cut trees, hauled off the metal and sifted through the ashes, we listened to her share her story and the emotion that was still very raw as she looked over what used to be her home.
Our students found several things that she was looking for like first camera, camera lenses (she was a photographer), shotguns her dad had given her, porcelain bowls she’d had from childhood, china from her grandmother and the body of one of her pets. I was honored to help her move on emotionally as one of our students helped her begin the process of grieving by helping her bury the animal.
It seemed with each little treasure we found, it was a great victory for all of us in helping her find “something” in the midst of nothing. We ended our day by praying with Cheryl that God would help her put the pieces of life back together and that she’d put her hope in God. It was great in such hopelessness, we were able to give a little bit of hope to one so desperately searching for a glimpse.
Andy Dennis, BSM Director of Rice University
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