From Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Colorado or other summer locations, the Winter Texans had watched the news as Hurricane Harvey headed for the Texas coast. They could watch the live broadcasts as the 140+ mph winds reached Port Aransas, Rockport and Aransas Pass. But, it would be days before they could communicate with their friends in the affected area.
The Winter Texans had no way of knowing if their winter plans would need to be changed. They had no way of knowing Palms RV owners Ed and Kristi LaPoint, Frank LaPoint and Park Manager Clara Boyle were already planning what was needed, who was needed and where to start.
As Ed, Kristi, Clara and Frank arrived the day after the hurricane, they saw what was ahead. Some trailers were flipped, some were just moved and some sat right where they had been before Harvey blew through. Fences were gone and the clubhouse and game room buildings had roof damage.
Ed already had his plan. A dumpster was ordered – there would be no debris piles waiting to be picked up in the Palms. Electrical and water hook-ups were checked immediately. Each trailer or rig was checked inside for safety followed by an official inspection by members of a north Dallas Fire Department who spent weeks helping the Aransas Pass Fire Department.
Ed, Kristi, Frank and Clara could be seen every day sweating in the post-hurricane heat as they fought the mosquitos but Ed said he was blessed. He did not need to wait for insurance funds to begin restoring the Palms to its former condition and he found some unexpected assistance.
Resident Richard Saldivar had not evacuated during the hurricane. He was on duty in the local Emergency Room during the storm but was able to help in those first weeks as the clean-up began.
David Beck, Rockport Relief Camp. provided the use of a fifth-wheel RV for showers before city water was restored. He continued to bring food and supplies for those working while they needed them.
Ken Neubaum and Ismael Villienueva worked those long hours from dawn to dark with the La Points. Crooked palm trees were supported, park electrical and water infrastructure was all repaired before city services were restored and privacy fencing replaced.
Clara was being typical Clara. Arrangements were made with owners of damaged rigs, she was constantly answering questions and kept everyone informed, as well as helping with the clean-up.
When water and power were restored in the park, Dean and Mary Dowdall and Mike and Jane Travis returned to pitch in and do whatever was needed at the time. As other park residents returned, there was always someone to help with their personal clean-up.
The final repairs to the damaged roofs and the clubhouse interior were finished in time for the Winter Texans’ return. All of the normal activities the residents enjoy during the winter months began again – quilting, wood carving, crafts, karaoke, card games, bingo, pool tournaments, Texas Holdem, Church services and Bible study.
AND food – always food – special breakfasts and lunches and carry-in dinners. Residents and guests filled the clubhouse for Christmas Dinner.
AND dances – always dances – with New Year’s Eve being the biggest and best.
Winter Texans are back and enjoying seeing their friends as they watch the continued restoration of My Coastal World from a home-base of normality.