Story by MaryJane Mudd, American Red Cross; Photography by Jacqueline Koch, American Red Cross
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment to improve the world. —Anne Frank
Angie Lopez descended the stairs of her Westador Community home the morning of Tuesday, April 19, and was shocked by what she saw: waist-high water on the first floor.
“On Monday morning it was coming in through all corners of the house,” said Lopez, who spent the night before huddled upstairs with her baby boy, Dangelo, and four other family members. “Next we lost electricity. The water receded a bit and we thought it was getting better, but on Tuesday morning we knew we had a problem.”
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. —Mahatma Gandhi
Late Tuesday morning, a woman knocked on the Lopez’ window. “Hello? Do you need help? Do you need food?” Angie didn’t know the woman but was grateful for her visit. Daisy, as she called herself, joined a family member to get food and supplies for the house. At noon, however, Daisy knocked again and encouraged the family to leave. They agreed and she transported each family member to dry land, one at a time, on a small float.
Daisy began helping others while the Lopez family considered next steps. First they visited a club house they thought was a shelter, but were turned away.
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing. —Theodore Roosevelt
Tired, soaked and hungry, the Lopez’ were relieved when a police officer spotted them. They hadn’t seen him before but eagerly accepted the slip of paper he put into Angie’s hand. “Here are some shelters,” he said gently. “I think you’ll be able to find a place to stay.” With that he turned to others and continued distributing the slips of paper.
Home is not where you live, but where they understand you. —Christian Morganstern
Angie and her family members looked at the list and selected the South County Community Center shelter run by the Red Cross in Spring, Texas. Upon arriving at the shelter, they were immediately greeted with dry clothes from a Red Cross community partner and a warm meal. Everyone cooed at baby Dangelo, who soon became the favorite lap-warmer of Red Cross and partner volunteers alike.
“I am so grateful for how everyone has treated us,” Angie said. “It’s like a family. People are sharing stories and plans together. The shelter is clean and comfortable. When Red Cross community partner volunteers see baby outfits, they can’t wait to bring them to Dangelo.”
Life is for service. – Fred Rodgers
Reflecting on future plans, Angie held a squirming Dangelo and said “We need to move on and get settled. From Daisy to the police officer to everyone here, we’ve been blessed. They helped us get through something I never thought in a millions years could happen. We’ll never forget them. We’re ready now for our next journey.”
If you can’t do great things, do little things with great love. If you can’t do them with great love, do them with a little love. If you can’t do them with a little love, do them anyway. Love grows when people serve. – Mother Teresa