Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mr. Rodgers

Saturday, I visited with one of our homeowners, Mr. Rodgers. He's 58-year-old and lost his left leg during the storm. As he explained it, Mr. Rodgers cut his toe a few days before Hurricane Ike hit, and when the water started to rise, his open wound became infected by the sewage other harmful substances floating around in the flood waters.

He survived the storm, but by the next day, his foot was black, then his calf and then up to his knee. He sat out on his front lawn, holding a sign that said he needed EMS, hoping a helicopter or passerby might help him. A cop came by at one point and said he would get help, but no one came.

Finally, a neighbor put Mr. Rodgers into his brand new cadillac as Mr. Rodgers protested about ruining the interior of his vehicle. "Your life is more important than this car," said the neighbor.

Terry was eventually placed in an ambulance that drove him to Dallas for a leg amputation. On the ride up, another injured man died right next to him. "I was thinking its not looking to good for me right now," he said.

After the amputation, Mr. Rodgers returned to Galveston in a wheelchair, unable to perform most of the tasks that he used to do as a master cabinetmaker. His home was destroyed, his business failing, his leg gone, and his wife was in a nursing home, suffering from alzheimer's.

But Mr. Rodgers pushed on, eventually got a prosthetic leg, and now walks pretty well. The doctors told him he probably would need to wait before using his new leg, but Mr. Rodger's stood up right there and walked out of the office. "I still have times when I stumble," he said. "I'll wake up in the morning, thinking I have 2 legs and fall right on my face."

When I commented that he was a very resilient man, Mr. Rodgers said, "Its not being resilient, I was just doing what I had to."

After more than a year of sitting in disrepair, we started working on Mr. Rodger's home last week, and we're excited to continue work. Its hard to imagine that horror stories like Mr. Rodgers' happen in America, but we hear them every day, and it's devastating.

When Maggie went to tell Mr. Rodgers we would be working on his home, he pulled out his wallet and told her he had no money to help the process. Maggie responded that he didn't need any because we would take care of it. Mr. Rodgers was overcome with emotion at the thought of his home being repaired for free

Many of our homeowners gave up any hope of normalcy months ago, but to see the hope return to the eyes of the hopeless is an incredible experience.

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