Ruth and Clint Payne retired early and settled into life in their house tucked away in a bend of Dickinson Bayou. In August 2017, the Paynes and their son Nicholas prepared to ride out Hurricane Harvey with their Australian Shepherds: seven dogs including five puppies. Thinking they could always make a getaway in their four-wheel drive vehicle, they were surprised when floodwater pushed up the driveway. “The water came up so fast, it was too late to get out,” said Clint.
As Harvey’s rain filled their neighborhood, the Paynes secured the dogs in kennels and placed them up in the attic to stay dry, then climbed up to join the dogs for the night, while water filled their home below. In the morning, Clint somehow was able to swim through the water to find a ladder they used to climb onto their neighbor’s roof, where they waited for a boat to rescue them. Later, family members boated back in to rescue the dogs.
Everything in their home was destroyed. The Paynes had homeowner’s insurance, but it didn’t cover the damage and the FEMA money only went so far. “We went through all of our savings,” said Clint. Then, the Paynes heard about Catholic Charities’ Disaster Recovery Program.
Catholic Charities provided funding for final restoration work to be done in partnership with Fuller Disaster Rebuilders, which sends teams of volunteers around the country to help communities following disasters like Harvey. In addition, Catholic Charities provided furniture so the Paynes can get their household back to normal.
(Contributed by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston)