On Saturday, August 26, 2017, Hurricane Harvey arrived causing massive damage to numerous homes in southeastern Texas. Many Houston-based homes, stores, businesses, and cars became partially submerged in contaminated water, and strong winds caused approximately 300,000 Texans to lose power. Moreover, it is reported that at least one Texan died due to the floods.
Sadly, this hurricane showed know mercy. If you dared look at the News, you were most likely inundated with upsetting pictures of older adults sitting idly in chest-high muddy water, mothers with babies desperately trying to keep afloat, and motorists desperately trying to get out of their flooded cars.
Although these images demonstrated just how devastating storms can be, one photo was truly distressing – the one that involved older adults forced to sit in semi-deep water until it subsided. The most heartbreaking thing about this picture is the residents’ faces, which are a mixture of helplessness, hopelessness, and finally, resign. It’s hard to imagine our grandparents in such a terrible situation, especially considering that many of the residents were unable to evacuate without assistance.
What happened? On Sunday afternoon, dozens of residents were evacuated from La Vita Bella in Dickinson, Texas after Hurricane Harvey flooded the facility. The dilapidated condition of the facility was brought to the public’s attention on Sunday afternoon, after a picture of older adults, many of whom are dependent on oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, and assistance from aides, sitting in waist-high water, went viral on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
According to the John Wayne Ferguson from the Galveston County Daily News, the picture was originally posted by Timothy J. McIntosh on Twitter, after he received the disturbing picture from his wife’s mother, Trudy Lampson, the owner of La Vita Bella. Trudy was beside herself with worry for the residents, but, had not received any assistance from emergency services or the National Guard. Dan Good from the New York Daily News reported that Trudy asked officials on Saturday before the deadly storm arrived if she should evacuate the assisted living facility and was advised against it.
Sickened by the thought of older adults wallowing in dirty water and in desperate need of help, Timothy urged people to retweet picture, to create awareness of the assisted living facility’s conditions. Timothy’s efforts paid off and soon dozens of La Vita Bella residents were rescued from the partially submerged facility.
Shortly after Timothy tweeted the picture, emergency services verified that the older adults were airlifted to safety. And, as of yesterday, approximately 24 older adults had been removed from the facility – but that number was expected to climb if the water levels throughout city increased. Once it was confirmed that many of the residents of La Vita Bella had been evacuated, Timothy thanked the supporters.
Even though the storm was devastating to so many, the uplifting stories of fearlessness and heroism, during a hurricane, is enough to restore one’s faith in humanity.
Photo by: TRUDY LAMPSON
Ferguson, J. W. (2017). 18 people rescued from flooded assisted living facility. Galveston County Daily News. Retrieved from http://www.galvnews.com/news/free/article_e1ffff8e-435d-5c78-ab46-57d6bc7dc6a5.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=user-share
Good, D. (2017). Nursing home patients rescued from Harvey floodwaters, with help from a haunting viral photo. New York Daily News. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/nursing-home-patients-airlifted-safety-harvey-floodwaters-article-1.3446793