Hope After Harvey: 6 Months of Recovery, Dickinson
DICKINSON, Texas (FOX 26) - The images still seem so fresh in our memory.
"By the time it got in the house we had to leave in 15 minutes. That's how fast it came up," Dickinson resident Bill Overton said.
As we stood in Bill Overton’s remodeled home, it was clear some time has passed since Harvey ravaged Dickinson. Three feet of water destroyed his home of almost 20 years. Six months has been enough time to nearly rebuild his house, but not his heart and mind.
"A couple weekends ago there was a thunderstorm and we were all very anxious. We used to love the sound of thunderstorms, but not now," Overton said.
Just looking around Overton’s Bayou Chantilly home, it would appear Dickinson— the city where we saw dramatic rescues end at I-45 and more than 80 percent of homes and business destroyed—has almost completely rebounded. But his progress is an anomaly here.
Just across the street, a family finally got a FEMA trailer this week so they can stop sleeping in their tent. Driving through the neighborhood, debris piles still stand tall. Almost just as common are RV’s in driveways.
Monica Davison’s family of four now lives in a borrowed RV, because their real home right next door is under repair. Davison's family got money from FEMA, but it'll cost so much to rewire the home, they're doing a lot of work themselves to save money.
"I ripped out a lot of walls. I have carpal tunnel really bad," Davison said.
As bad as things look, she's still hopeful they'll be back home in a few months because of help from organizations like Eight Days of Hope.
"We see a lot of progress," Dickinson’s acting city manager Ron Morales says.
Morales estimates about 80 percent of businesses are back open. Since Harvey, he says the city has created a better communication system in case residents ever need to be rescued again by strangers lending a hand and boat.
While those things are good, hundreds of residents packed a recent city council meeting to voice concerns about drainage issues after a 4-inch rain caused more flooding and Harvey flashbacks.
"We found some new problems that we didn't have prior to the hurricane," Morales said.
Morales says people who lived in apartments, rented homes or didn't have insurance are the ones still struggling the most.
His hope after Harvey is that time will heal all, including some of his memories. When Harvey hit --- he was in the trenches as police chief.
“The people suffering and you feel a responsibility to do something, and you're helpless." Morales said. "It's those things that stick around long after all this is gone. Things like that you don't ever want to see again."
Dickinson isn't completely back up and running yet. But if Overton and Davison are any indication, the city's spirit hasn't been broken.
"People helping people, to strangers helping strangers. It was good. A lot of blessings among the tragedy," Overton said.
"It kind of makes you look at things different and take a step back and say you know we can do it better. It's definitely been a blessing for us in disguise," Davison said.