Congregational Church of Christ

United Church of Christ

"A little church with a big heart!"

Note from Mandy Gandesbery


   Thank you for your loving support after Hurricane Harvey!! It meant a great deal to us! Let me introduce my family to you. My name is Mandy, my husband is Jack, my daughter is Kiana and my grandson is Chris. I work for Ingleside school district and am based out of Blaschke- Sheldon Elementary a NEU school. Go NEU!!! My grandson, Chris, is a fifth grader here at Blaschke- Sheldon. My daughter is in 8th grade. My husband has a moving company and we have a RV park where we live in Rockport. Before the hurricane we had 11 rental units at our RV park. Harvey destroyed nine of the eleven homes including our home. We had a lot of trees on our land before the hurricane. The hurricane destroyed many of our trees. Some trees were uprooted, some broken, some on homes or buildings and some were just tangled up on the roads. Half of the park flooded too. It was a huge mess!

   We evacuated before the hurricane hit. We took our dogs and our indoor cat with us but our horse, donkeys, chickens, ducks and the outdoor cats had to ride out the storm. Thankfully the animals we left behind were alive when we returned. They were not very happy though. The horse and donkeys were in water up to their bellies. The cats were drenched and hiding in trees and debris. The chickens were hiding in their coop up on perches but the coop was missing half the roof and was flooded. I'm not sure what the ducks and goose though about the storm but they loved the huge "pond" Harvey gave them that covered six to seven acres of our park.

   When we evacuated we stayed in a hotel a few hours away. We watched Hurricane Harvey approach our town on TV like most other people. It was pretty scary not knowing what was going on especially when we found out our friend and her two young children ended up stranded in Rockport and we didn't have time to go back and get them before the storm hit. The next morning we saw the devastation of the town on TV. That afternoon our friend got a text through saying our land and homes were destroyed but that her family survived the storm.

   My husband and I drove back the second day after the storm to see how bad things were and if we could salvage anything. It was crushing to see our home ripped apart and in pieces and all the other devastation on our land. There were some blessings there too though. Our animals were alive, we and our friends were alive and unharmed and our office building had minimal damage compared to everything else.

   My husband and friend spent the first month basically camping on our land trying to get the water pumped off the land, fix the well so we could have water, and get trees off of the couple buildings that survived Hurricane Harvey. There was no running water or electricity for that first month. My daughter, grandson and I stayed two hours away at my mom's house during this time. I would get supplies and things that were hard to get in Rockport and bring them to my husband every few days. Lots of people were a great blessing during this time. In town there were different people handing out cooked food and cold drinks along with medical supplies and basic necessities like soap, Clorox wipes, clothes and blankets. It was the generosity and compassion of strangers that helped us make it through the aftermath of the storm.

   Once school started up we stayed in a motel for several weeks while continuing to work on getting the office building in good enough repair for us to live in. Finally, almost two month after the storm we were able to move in to our office building on our own land. We had to sleep on mats on the concrete floor but I was very thankful just to be back on our land. I felt like I was finally able to come home even though our house was gone.

   There have been many, many repairs to do in the months after Hurricane Harvey hit. There are still signs of the storm's destruction in our park but our park is definitely looking better these days.

   We are very thankful for the support you sent us! It is an awesome blessing when people you don't even know step up and show kindness and help others. I really can't express how thankful we are and how much your thoughtfulness to do something to help people so far away from you means. Your caring and giving has blessed many families in our area! I pray God blesses you, your families and your school many times over for the blessings you gave us! Thanks again! Have a great day!


Mandy Gandesbery

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