A torrential rainstorm that brought six to ten inches of rain stalled over a watershed in southeast Austin prone to flash flooding on Oct. 31. As a result, nearby Onion Creek rose 11 feet in 15 minutes and crested at a record 41 feet, leaving more than 600 homes flooded.
While no members of the Church or Church buildings experienced flooding, members in the area quickly went to work to help those impacted by what is being called the “Halloween Flood”.
One volunteer, Kevin Christensen of the Austin Texas Stake showed up at the Dove Springs Recreation Center to lend a hand. He used his Spanish-speaking skills to translate for flood victims trying to communicate their needs to relief workers.
As a member of Central Texas VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster), Brother Christensen began coordinating with local Church leaders as hundreds of volunteers were needed for “mucking out” debris and wet sheet rock in flooded homes and yards. On Nov. 9, hundreds of Church members from eight stakes in central Texas participated in the Mormon Helping Hands disaster relief project. Some of these same volunteers had previously helped with “mucking out” efforts after Hurricane Ike hit the Texas coast in September 2008.
The project was coordinated with VOAD, the Red Cross and Texas Department of Public Safety.
“We have great compassion upon all who have suffered water damage, or been displaced from their homes in the aftermath of the recent flooding rains in the Onion Creek area; and we desire to assist them in their hour of need,” said Stewart Dickson, local spokesman for the Church.
“Our response to this natural disaster is centered on our belief in Jesus Christ and in His teachings. Jesus Christ taught that we all have a responsibility to our neighbor. He taught the parable of the Good Samaritan. Simply stated, we follow Jesus Christ by reaching out to those in need,” Brother Dickson said.