Hurricane Harvey hits close to home for some Wingate students

Savanna Harris, Staff Writer

It’s unlikely that, sometime throughout the past few days, you haven’t heard something about Hurricane Harvey. With coverage on every mass media outlet from TV to radio, news about what is being called the worst storm to hit the United States in over a decade, is being heard far and wide.

Making landfall last Friday as a Category 4 storm with winds of 130 mph, Harvey has relentlessly battered the Texas coastline. Although it has since been downgraded to a tropical depression and is moving inland, a record-breaking 50+ inches of rain have fallen in some areas.

Storm surge and flooding remain as imminent threats, and officials are worried the floodwaters may not begin to recede for days. The death toll has already exceeded 30 and is expected to rise further.

When a natural disaster strikes somewhere far away, we often don’t think about the possibility of it having an impact on the people who live on campus. But, students on campus who call Texas home have suddenly found themselves in this situation.

Treslyn Ortiz, a sophmore and resident of Texas City and Katie Bludau, a senior and residents of Seabrook which are both located in the Houston area both play volleyball here at Wingate and are feeling the effects of Harvey firsthand.

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Treslyn Ortiz, photo by: Savanna Harris
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Katie Bludau, photo by: Savanna Harris

Both girls, who have been keeping in constant contact with family and friends back home, expressed very much concern, as well as fear, based on news from their loved ones.

“I’m worried for the people who have lost everything,” said Bludau. “The community is strong and it’s good to see them coming together. But, I’m scared and heartbroken for those who no longer have a home.”

Thankfully, neither of their homes were directly hit or badly damaged. However, having close relationships with people who weren’t as fortunate is taking its toll.  “I have a cousin whose son has diabetes but wasn’t able to be taken to the hospital,” Ortiz said. “I’m scared for them and how others are being affected as well.”

She also has an aunt whose home was flooded with 7 inches of water, but even among the devastation, her family is graciously going out and rescuing people by boat.

With everything that’s unfolding, the two girls can’t help but feel the urge to return home. According to Bludau, “I won’t be able to go home until Christmas break because of volleyball, but I’d be there in a heartbeat if I could.” But, since Wingate remains their home away from home for now, they are donating money and clothes to those in need, as well as sending good thoughts to Texas.

Edited by: Brea Childs

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