By Michele Maki, American Red Cross
“We were terrified. The water was so deep, and I was so scared.” Emilia Martinez from San Marcos, TX shares her ordeal with new Red Cross Volunteer Jillana Holt-Reuter at the shelter in San Marcos. “We woke up last Sunday and our trailer had a foot of water in it. We looked outside and the water was rising.” Mrs. Martinez handed over her 2 week son, Nano, to her husband, and together they helped their four other children, aged twelve to five years old, into an old raft to escape the rising flood waters.
“The water was up, almost to my shoulders.” Mrs. Martinez recounts. “My husband walked through the water and guided the raft to safety. He saved our lives.”
After arriving in the Red Cross shelter, the Martinez family was met by Holt-Reuter and before long, she became little Nano’s surrogate auntie, “Gigi”.
“What this family has been through is unbelievable. This was Mrs. Martinez’s family home–the home she grew up in. “ Holt-Reuter said. Mrs. Martinez eyes well up in tears and she adds, “I know I should be grateful that my baby….my family is alive and I am. I’m very grateful. But, it’s so hard to say goodbye….my home…my family home.”
Mr. Martinez comforts his wife and adds, “The Red Cross has been wonderful. I don’t know what we would do without their help. We have a safe place to sleep, food, friendly Red Cross friends and there are nurses here for us. We’re really very thankful.”