KATY, Texas – It’s been a year since muddy floodwater entered thousands of homes in parts of Cinco Ranch, Kelliwood and Canyon Gate from the pooling of water after the release of the Barker Reservoir.
“I have moments where I’m sad and I can feel the tears building up and moments I’m so thankful, we’re blessed,” said Valerie Moderski, who lives in Cinco Ranch. “We’ve come a long way in a year and we would not be here without the help of family, friends and strangers.”
In the 23 years Moderski and her family have lived in their home, it had never flooded.
But on Aug. 27, 2017, they watched as the water started to get higher in the street.
“There’s a stop sign at the end of the street and all day the water kept rising and reached the top and I was,like, ‘We need to go,’" explained Moderski.
They called for help from the Cajun Navy, who rescued Moderski and her two kids. Her husband, who later evacuated, stayed in the house with their dog.
“We stood there with our garbage bag and we were rescued,” said Moderski, who held back tears. “Definitely one of the lowest moments of our life and I don’t think I’ve felt more defeated in my entire life than in that moment.”
Moderski would later learn more than two feet of water entered their home. It took several days for the water to recede.
It was the same story in the neighborhood across Mason Road in Canyon Gate.
“It’s coming along. It’s been a very long slow process,” said Penny Long, who lives in Canyon Gate. “We’re happy to be back, I know a lot of the other neighbors are just getting back."
She and her husband have lived in their home for 19 years and thought they could wait out the flooding with their generator.
“I was watching the front and my husband was watching the back and it actually came in from front and back at the same time, then started coming in through the walls,” Long said. “We decided to stay; we knew we were going to take in water, but had no idea the magnitude of what was going to happen.”
She said the water went over their generator. Her husband said they were in trouble and would need to leave so they called a friend with a boat who rescued them.
“It’s heartbreaking. It doesn’t feel like it’s been a year; it’s still very close, but we’ll get through it, with the help of family and friends,” Long said.
As Moderski and Long, reflect on how Hurricane Harvey has changed their lives it's clear there’s one thing the flood waters did not wash away -- their spirit. The hardships of the unexpected instead taught them, and many others, a new perspective on life.
“Appreciate everything you have, don’t take anything for granted, you never know, life changes in a minute,” Long said.
“That was a once-in-a-lifetime deal. I mean, Houston got pounded with 50 inches of rain in a matter of days,” Moderski said. “I don’t see it happening (again). I feel confident that we’re safe and God has a plan and if something were to happen, we’ll figure it out again.”