A powerful message from Texas

Published 3:00 am Saturday, September 2, 2017

When Mark Kelly called on Friday morning, he began to talk of the devastation in Texas.

“I know you’re reporting about it and ways local people can help, but I wondered if you might be interested in hearing from a someone who lives there, with a connection in Troy?” he asked.

Mark’s brother, Mike, graduated from school in Troy and moved to Texas, where he built a life with his wife, Sharon.

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Early Friday morning, he sent an email to friends and family near and far, sharing a few local observations filtered through his lens of faith in God and in humanity.

It’s a touching and heart-warming correspondence, one that reminds us that even in the most horrific of crises, human nature is good; and kind; and heroic:


Dear Everyone,


It’s been a wild ride lately in the Houston area and beyond as most of you know.  Wanted to thank all of you who have been praying for the people here and for us.


We were fortunate and blessed indeed; we had no water enter our house, or our subdivision for that matter, and only lost power for a few hours during the whole ordeal. But less than one mile away, near the Brazos River, some lost everything through the flooding and water backing up from levees and dams that had never flooded in 100 years, some say 500 years. We are on the high side of the Brazos.


Some beautiful 200-year-old trees, who probably saw Sam Houston, gave way and just fell over.  As you’ve heard, the destruction of the wind and the water is wide spread over hundreds of miles. It will take years to recover from this but Texans are as hearty as Alabamians so they will bounce back with God’s help and that well known resilience that is prevalent in the drinking water, BBQ and DNA here.


There were so many volunteers from everywhere, other states and counties, that when I was able to get out of the subdivision to offer to volunteer, they didn’t need any more help so we just stayed ready to help those close to us. It’s still pretty bad but the worst is over from the inclement weather threat for now; just the flooding remains to be dealt with which is bad enough for so many.


Many gave testimony to the Lord on TV for those rescuers who risked their lives to save them and it still is going on. There were more fishing boats in subdivisions than I’ve ever seen in the gulf, or any lake, at one time. It seems those fishermen, just old like Gene Threadgill, James Key, Rick Hughes or Larry Adams, are ready to help and will jump at every chance to get their boats wet and props in action. It reminded me of what Dunkirk, with the average Brit, might have looked like although I haven’t seen the movie yet.


Thank goodness the shelters and businesses, this time around, gave permission to allow everyone bring their pets to the shelters so all the fur babies (hadn’t heard that term till I saw Bobbie Jean refer to them that way) got free rides too. What’s a little poop and pet fur to clean up once you’ve had a 500-year flood. Yahoo for pragmatic, clear thinking people.


Everyone appreciated the government, National Guard, Marines, Coast Guard and others but didn’t wait for them to get things rolling. Just everyday citizens took charge and got people out of their houses (still are) and into boats and to shelters.  It made you proud to be an American, many times as I was glued to the TV, to see how it has been done for generations and how we would have seen it done, and participated in, like days of yore in Troy.


One guy, who hailed and drove directly from Kentucky to help, simply opined, while guiding his old, beat up, flat bottom aluminum boat through a local subdivision in the pouring rain, picking up those who were stranded and whose houses were almost submerged… that God had just laid it on his heart to get to Texas to help and he “wasn’t that busy in Kentucky that day anyway”…ha! Reminded me of Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett who came from Kentucky to the Alamo and all the others of that ilk who treasured freedom and helping their neighbors thousands of miles away in trouble.


Untold, innumerable stories of bravery, loss, suffering, sacrifice, caring and giving will be told and remembered for generations.  It was epic in its impact on the physical property but also showed many who don’t know (hopefully the younger generation and new American citizens) what a resourceful and courageous people can do with disaster and how they can minister to one another when the chips are down and all seems lost.  It makes pretty plain (for those who want to see) the perseverance and determination of individuals, not waiting for the government, taking action to secure safety and providing for those in need in their periphery through the grace given by God in the midst of terrible suffering.


As one citizen leader said, “we didn’t have time to wait for some damn paper to sign to organize it or bless it officially, we just heard people needed help so we called our friends and neighbors and went out and got it done”.  The military was there, and appreciated, but they had to go thru channels and there were people to save before all that bureaucracy could be moved. Talked to James Ed Hester tonite as he called to check on us. We had a good time catching up. He’s been a busy beaver.


Please keep Texans, our leaders, and all those impacted by the storm in your prayers … the loss is almost indescribable but the best is yet to come. Sharon will say this email is way too long but it was fun putting it together to torture you that waded through it. Pun intended.


Regards from Texas,


Mike and Sharon Kelly

South of the Brazos

God is still in charge Jerimiah 29:11


It’s also a personal reminder that we can all offer aid and prayers for the people of Texas, who face a long, hard road back to “normal life.”

Stacy G. Graning is publisher of The Messenger. Contact her at stacy.graning@troymessenger.com