Group driving new home for Harvey survivor nearly 2,000 miles away

State & Regional

ROCKPORT, Texas — Eddie Garcia’s faith hasn’t wavered in over the last year, despite how Hurricane Harvey destroyed his home and the surrounding land the house sits on. 

“You live day by day, you know,” he said. “You think about what happened, but life goes on.” 

The Mennonite Disaster Service in Pennsylvania recently built him a new home and will drive it down this week. The attitude of selflessness among the volunteers is what they know best. 

“They help people all over the country, whether it’s fire, floods, hurricanes,” volunteer Doug Snabely said. “They’re building houses for people. They’re building bridges.” 

Garcia currently lives in a trailer he received from someone else. It’s parked in his backyard. His father built his now-damaged home 50 years ago. He’s now preparing for it to be torn down. 

“It’s been in the family – that’s all I’ve known as my home,” he said. “All my life, it was this one.” 

Black mold started growing on the walls due to the water that entered his home during Harvey. 

“It started leaking and I didn’t have any money to fix it,” he said. “It got worse and worse and the hurricane came and blew out some windows and it got mold in there.” 

When Garcia went to Central Texas to stay with family when the hurricane hit, he had to leave his cat behind. He survived. 

“I was worried about him and said hopefully he’s alive,” he said. “And he was there waiting for me.” 

The cat roams freely around where Garcia lives. 

“He was a tough one,” he continued. 

Once the home arrives, Garcia wants to set up his bedroom first. His old bedroom was torn apart in the storm. It will be around a two-month process to finalize the entire home. 

The funds helping with this effort are from a telethon hosted last year by the Mennonite Disaster Service. 

“It’s just so fulfilling to really help somebody that wouldn’t get help otherwise,” Snabely said. 

Garcia thanks the different volunteers that have come into the Coastal Bend community to help rebuild homes and buildings. 

“Old structures didn’t survive,” he said. “People who’ve come in and helped with building, it’s revived the town.”

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