Historic flooding hit Austin, Texas, on the morning of October 31 when the waters of nearby Onion Creek flooded into the surrounding neighborhood in the southeast part of the city. Hundreds of residents were affected, as was The Springs Community Church, a Christian Reformed church in Austin.
“It missed us by 10 feet, and there is so much to be grateful for,” said pastor Richard Villareal. “I see my community in a different light now, and I want to serve my community even more. It isn’t just a community without a face; it’s a community with a lot of different faces that I’ve gotten to know.”
Members of The Springs have been helping at the scene and also by hosting a barbecue benefit this past Saturday. Volunteers have been out for up to 16 hours at a time—doing everything from gathering supplies to pulling debris out of victims’ homes.
“We were there at ground zero from day one,” Villarreal said. “We really just began to plug in where volunteers were needed. Some people went out and helped with relief efforts like cleaning up and helping families move stuff.”
One of the volunteers with The Springs has been Chris Parlette, seeing all the devastation firsthand.
“[The distress] was terrifying, horrible,” Parlette said. “They are things you see on TV and even local news but never . . . in person. I’m heartbroken.”
The City of Austin has approved a plan to buy out over 100 homes in the flood area to avoid another disaster from occurring.
“I know it’s not going to be the same, but hopefully it will be back to normal,” Parlette said. “I know it will be with them for the rest of their lives, and [they will be] trying to get used to [taking] one step forward, one day at a time.”