When she was taking stock of her situation in a Houston-area emergency shelter, Nessa Lomax was both grateful — and afraid. Grateful because her family and pet made it out safely when the waters of Hurricane Harvey rose to and through their home, and afraid because they only got away with a few backpacks’ worth of clothing and possessions.
“When the storm was coming we stayed, because we’d measured the height of the house’s base to our door and it was greater than 15 inches,” Nessa recalls. “We were expecting no more than 15 inches of rain, based on the forecast. Unfortunately, some of the canals and waterways near our home had been rerouted and the water ended up coming straight at our home. At 1 a.m. we saw more rainfall, by 3 a.m. we were ankle deep and within 45 minutes it was up to our waists. To make matters worse, the whole city was without power, so we had to manage escaping in complete darkness. The water’s current was so swift and strong, which really shocked us, as we became trapped in sort of an island where our home used to be.”
“Imagine having to wrap your whole life up in less than 30 minutes and decide what is deemed precious enough to try to save,” she adds. “It was all in vain — even our attic did not survive Hurricane Harvey. My husband and I secured each child to our shoulders and, like everything else, slipped into the dark water, holding onto prayers and each other.”
“I have been with HCA since 2015 and heard of the Hope Fund, but never thought I would need assistance. At the first Stand Up meeting that was called at my hospital after the city was shut down, the first Action Item on the agenda was: “Who needs help from the Hope Fund?” I had 100 different things racing through my mind on that conference call, but surprisingly I still did not see my situation as worthy of needing help or assistance. Shock, numbness, and disconnect left me too paralyzed to think I needed help. I’m so thankful others who knew about my situation took action and encouraged me to realize that the Hope Fund was created for employees by employees. In less than 24 hours the Hope Fund had reached out to me, and we were being taken care of.”
Nessa says she realizes just how much the Hope Fund can do for any HCA employee when they are in a challenging place. “Devastation doesn’t care about the when and the where you are in your life — it just comes. The Hope Fund does the same thing. It comes and doesn’t care about the when or why that occurred in your life — it just cares about you.”