Three months ago, residents of My Coastal World ventured out to see the destruction left behind by Hurricane Harvey. Today they spent the last day of a Thanksgiving weekend under sunny skies with a mild breeze. Some were fishing. Some were shopping. Some were saying goodbye to family and friends. Many had much to be thankful for while some continue to make hard decisions.
While water and power have been restored, complaints continue to be heard during casual conversations about TV and internet service. Local governments have realized the importance of providing timely information during the recovery period to those in the affected areas, but new strategies have not been planned.
The unending piles of debris from trees and structures are slowly disappearing from the curb and roadsides while home and business repairs are continuing.
The boats which sank in harbors and waterways have been lifted and moved to shipyards or storage areas. Some will be repaired while others will never float again.
A new normal seems to be taking shape. Small businesses celebrate reopening of their competitors. Homeowners celebrate when their contractor or roofer finally sets a date to begin repairs. Towns, schools and residents continue to receive donations.
Many schools reopened even though students’ classes were held in a different building. Athletic teams began regular practice and game times. Communities once again could cheer for their teams.
Thanksgiving was not a one-day event. Free community dinners were held in all the communities. The number of food baskets given to families increased. Fundraising events became free events providing a time for residents to enjoy a day or evening without thinking about their problems.
As My Coastal World gave thanks for the progress which has been made, friends and neighbors who left their destroyed homes and apartments to live somewhere else were missed. Small businesses anxiously hoped shoppers would return as the holiday season begins. Many homeowners and business owners continue to wait for insurance settlement decisions to be made.
The restoration of the coastal area will continue for days, weeks, months and possibly years but the spirit and determination of the people are enduring.