Randy and I live a quiet life in the Hill Country, north of San Antonio, Texas. We are self-employed and work from home. We have no children, only our cats, three of which we claim and various strays that claim us. From the top of our hill we can see for miles and we thoroughly enjoy the calm and quiet.
We had no idea how much our life was to be changed in the fall of 2005. While we watched in disbelief the events that unfolded following Hurricane Katrina, we knew that we wanted to do something in a tangible way to help those who had lost everything. When the church asked for volunteers to assist with a shelter, we decided that we could arrange our schedule to help with cooking and cleaning for a week. We had no intention of getting as involved with this project as we did.
Our journey over the following months has changed our lives forever. Through our association with the Thornton family, the other evacuee families, and those who operated and volunteered at the church sponsored shelter, we now think differently and our priorities have changed drastically. We will never be the same. We have learned so much about other people, about compassion and respect, how others think and live, trust and not being too quick to judge those around us.
As the days, weeks and months progressed, the Thornton’s told us their story in bits and pieces. We tried not to pry, understanding that this trauma was so large that they could only tell it in this way. We tried to understand their story from their perspective, through their eyes and through their way of life and understanding of the world around them. We have talked and listened, laughed and cried, and wore ourselves out playing with the kids. We feel as though we have a new extended family and hopefully friends for life.
We are telling our story through our own eyes, what we saw, heard and witnessed. There were many wonderful people involved in this endeavor and many Angels who came to our aid. We thank everyone for all of their hard work and dedication. While most of the names have been altered, we are presenting the events as we saw them unfold and from our perception. Our lives have been greatly enriched and our understanding of those around us has been sharpened. We hope that we can bring you a little insight as well.
Randy and Stephanie