In late August, Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters severly damaged Barbara Pickens' Houston-area home but couldn't wash away her resolve to rebuild.

Barbara has been a radiology aide at Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center for 30 years. She recently recounted her experience during Hurricane Harvey and discussed how she and her family are moving forward.

Q: What happened when Hurricane Harvey began dumping rain on your region?

Before the storm arrived, we prepared the best we could - bought groceries, put gas in the car and boarded up the windows. When the water started to rise, we saw stories on TV of people being rescued from their homes, but we never thought it would happen to us. The water rose quickly and made its way into our one-level home through the kitchen. My husband, daughter and I sent out messages via text and social media that we needed rescuing. Someone saw our post and called 911. The fire department picked us up in a boat and took us to a local shelter.

Q: How badly was your home damaged?

Three feet of water entered the house. We lost carpets, cabinets, doors, walls and two refrigerators. We were able to save some furniture. 

Q: What's next for you and your family?

After gutting the house, we're rebuilding. We're staying in a hotel  now but hope to be able to return home soon. We received $5,000 from CHI St. Luke's Health Helping Hands fund a few weeks after the storm to assist with repairs and rebuild. Our hearts are full of thankfulness and happiness because of my CHI family.


This story originally appeared in Catholic Health Initiatives Winter 2018 imagine magazine.