View Full Version : Survived Rita and now I need a 'Marga'Rita (long)

Waymon Campbell
09-28-2005, 8:04 PM
A week ago today I boarded up the house and shop in preparation for Rita. Since plywood was in such short supply around here I decided to unscrew the OSB off my garage walls to use (who says Norm is the only woodworker with Yankee thrift :D ). LOML packed up and headed for Livingston, TX at 3am Thursday morning. I was right behind her at 5am. What is normally an hour trip down beautiful country roads took 3hrs and 5 1/2hrs respectively.

Arrived in good shape and began helping make preparations at Lake Tomahawk for the approximately 400+ folks that would be housed there during the storm. 2/3rds of these were Katrina evacuees, with the other 1/3rd being people from various Texas Baptist churches.

Friday afternoon one of the Katrina evacuees went into labor :eek: . LOML and I put her in the car and headed for the nearest hospital. There were several roadblocks between us and the hospital as Texas State Troopers were trying to funnel trafic north. We called the Livingston 911 operator to explain the emergency we had and they called the troopers at the roadblocks and we were waived through. We made it okay and a beautiful baby boy was delivered just a few hours before Rita was to hit. On the way back from the hospital we ran out of gas because of the traffic backup :( . So here we are, LOML and I, walking down 190 East at 8pm Friday night trying to get back to the camp just a few hours before the storm was to arrive. Fortunately we get help and arrived back in good shape.

Saturday morning around 1am we began to get some Rita wind and rain. By 2am we were getting A LOT of Rita wind and rain. Unbelievably it appeared that we had picked the wrong place to shelter and help, because we were getting 70+mph winds. Oak trees began laying over and pine trees began snapping like twigs. We were staying in a cabin amongst other cabins arrayed in a sunflower type pattern. The cabin next to us received hits from three separate trees coming from three different directions. Our cabin was unscathed and fortunately no one was hurt during the storm. A few hours later I counted at least forty large trees down in the camp.

Saturday afternoon at 3pm I told LOML that I was ready to see if we could make the trek back home to check on our house. We left her car at camp since it was out of gas and we headed back in my truck. Incredible as it seems, we made it home in an hour. TXDOT (Texas Dept. of Transportation) had staged trucks with cherry-picker arms along the roads and they had almost completely cleared the roadways of any fallen trees just hours after the storm had passed. As we dodged the remaining tree debris there was not a mile that passed where we did not see trees toppled onto power lines. As we got nearer home the damage appeared to intensify (as did my anxiety).

Arrived home a little after 4pm Saturday. No damage to house or shop. We had lots of leaves to clean out of the pool, a few small limbs in the yard, but that was it! In our entire neighborhood there were only a couple of trees down and almost no damage to homes. What an absolute blessing! Especially when you consider that a few miles to the north and east there is devastation on an unimaginable scale. My neighbor had arrived a few minutes before us and as we are talking about our good fortunes here comes a power company truck. We had lights less than an hour after arriving home!

The rest of Saturday and Sunday were cleanup days. Work says to stay home on Monday, so several of us go up to the church to repair some minor roof damage. Sunday night I learn that one of our friends a couple of neighborhoods over has come back and doesn't have lights yet. So they stay with us Sunday night. They get power and we have another friend without power stay Monday night. For the next several nights our music minister and wife will be staying with us as they have been told it could be weeks before their power is restored. They live north of us in one of the heavily tree damaged areas.

Attached is a pic with OSB installed (sorry for the poor quality - its a still from video I shot) and an after.

This whole thing has served to remind me of how fortunate and blessed I am, and how there are so many things that I take for granted that other people don't have right know. And in many cases will never have.

Keith Foster
09-28-2005, 8:35 PM
Glad to hear all is ok. Waited out the storm here in Katy and prayed it would pass us by. Then felt guilty for those who took the blunt of Rita. If there is anything I can do for you or your extended family - just ask. However, it looks like the big guy upstairs had you under his arms the whole time. Can't get better protection than that!

Jim Becker
09-28-2005, 8:44 PM
See....having that shop to supply for your hurricaine needs just illustrates how important it is to have a shop!! :D :D :D

Seriously, I'm glad you are all fine and suffered minimal property damage. So many were not so lucky...

Dan Mages
09-28-2005, 8:45 PM
I'm glad to hear you made it through okay!!! I sure hope all of those nice old oak trees don't go to waste!


Todd Burch
09-28-2005, 8:54 PM
Waymon, glad you made it through with flying colors.

Some friends of mine just moved to Baytown. I met them at the George R. Brown Convention Center. They arrived on buses courtesy of Katrina earlier this month. A super nice family. On my next trip to Baytown, I'll give you a holler.


Ken Fitzgerald
09-28-2005, 9:25 PM
Waymon....glad things went as well as they did!

Don Henthorn Smithville, TX
09-28-2005, 9:43 PM
Really glad the Lord blessed you, Waymon. Exciting times, but it is those times when we are the most blessed it seems.

John Miliunas
09-28-2005, 9:50 PM
Waymon, sounds like you, your family and all those you've been helping, have truly been blessed!:) Really happy for you!:) :cool:

Von Bickley
09-28-2005, 10:33 PM
Glad everything turned out O.K. for you and your wife.

Take care..... :)

Vaughn McMillan
09-29-2005, 12:27 AM
Waymon, I'll echo what everyone else has said. It's been nice getting reports from the Texas (and other Gulf Coast) Creekers and hearing things were no worse than they were. (Still not good in many cases, but not as bad as it could have been.)

Thanks for checking in -

- Vaughn

Jeff Sudmeier
09-29-2005, 8:30 AM
Waymon, someone was sure looking out for you, your family and your friends during this time! I am glad that you weathered the storm so well.