Camp County Comes Together To Help Evacuees - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Camp County Comes Together To Help Evacuees

When Hurricane Katrina hit, one East Texas community came together to help those affected by the storm. The small town never got the chance to help because Katrina evacuees did not make it to their town. Hurricane Rita gave the community a second chance to show the evacuees their generosity. 

"Everybody in this community has one way or the other tried to help during these events," said Martin Pressink, Chief of Police. Three churches opened their doors for Rita evacuees. Emmanuel Baptist Church did welcomed the evacuees. The church cleared out their Sunday school rooms for the evacuees and made signs for every family.

"We went through and changed all the door knobs to give them there own individual keys to their rooms," said Alethea Pearson, church member. The church also opened their kitchen.

"We knew we wanted to do it the way we would want it to be and we wouldn't want to be in a gym," said Pearson. "All we had to do was look at the Astro Dome or the Super Dome and you know you don't want to lay down and go to sleep with 20 thousand people." Evacuees say it feels more like a hotel, or an apartment than a shelter.

"I'm very grateful to them you know because I feel the lord has brought us here," said Delma Castro, Port Arthur evacuee. "We didn't expect this to happen to us, but they've been very good to us and it's a blessing to be here." And on the same, evacuees were back at work.

"I go to Emmanuel Baptist Church and I knew we had the evacuees there and found that we did have some painters there and we've been waiting on some bids to come in on repainting our courthouse, so we got in touch with them," said Preston Combest, Camp County Judge. The county says the evacuees are doing a great job.

"I'm real happy," said Cruz Castilo. "Maybe I'll stay I don't know." As for Pittsburg, it's just happy it got the opportunity to help.

The city says many of the evacuees have been able to go home, but twenty-five are still living at Emmanuel Baptist Church.

Molly Reuter, reporting.

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