Texas emergency response crews continue to assist Florida hurricane survivors

Texas Baptist Men helping feed Floridians recovering from hurricane
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 6:16 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2022 at 8:14 PM CDT

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - A Texas group is among those giving assistance to hurricane survivors in Florida.

“That’s been just a huge thing for us to see that we’re able to bring that help, hope and healing to people that need it most,” said Texas Baptist Men’s John-Travis Smith.

Emergency response crews, including those from Texas Baptist Men and the American Red Cross, have been in Florida assisting with relief efforts.

They now face the hard work after the flood, including homes where everything ruined by water had to come out.

Smith said it’s the stories that impact him the most. Today, he met a couple that not only lost their home but their business too. The wife was an artist.

“We had to throw away several tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of paintings, and just watching her house as we had to pull those out, and there was just no way to salvage that, was gut-wrenching,” said Smith.

The husband had a photography business and lost all of his gear to flooding.

“He just had no other way to make a means of income. That was very difficult to see them in that position,” said Smith.

Regional Communications Manager Brian Murnahan met a family from an area that wasn’t expected to flood. The family of five was forced to take refuge in their attic with their pet dog and chicken. The man’s daughter described what it was like watching her dad leave into the dark to find help.

“She just knows that her dad is going to go off and swim into this that is going down her street and try to find help,” said Murnahan. “She broke down in tears, and you know, it’s really hard to see that, to hear that, and not be impacted.”

More than the destruction, both men say they’ll remember the human resilience.

“They’re amazingly positive. They see hope; they see rebuilding; they see a future ahead of them, and they know what’s coming.”

Smith said now that people are starting to regain power and are able to cook again. They are slowly decreasing the number of meals needing to be provided.