While Hurricane Ike did not hit Bell County with much more than storm clouds, many university students worried about friends and family who live in the storm’s path throughout other parts of the state.
Freshman elementary education major Emily Cherrier is from Texas City, Texas. Her family decided not to evacuate.
“I was extremely worried because Texas City was right in the middle of the projected path,” she said.
Cherrier’s family went to her grandfather’s house because of its past success with strong storms.
She said, “They also boarded up all the windows, bought lots of water and food, filled the tub with water, brought in all the pets and prayed.”
For a while, Cherrier was not very concerned about the hurricane.
“When my mom told me they were putting valuables up high and boarding up the windows, I realized it was serious,” she said. “They didn’t want me to worry, so they tried to down play the situation, but I could tell they were more concerned than they were letting me see.”
She tried to do normal activities on the day Hurricane Ike hit, like campus run and cheering with the Couch Cru at the UMHB football game against Southern Nazarene University, but she found the day was still stressful.
Cherrier said, “My first Crusader football game was definitely a nail-biter, not because of a close score or anything, but because the entire time all I could think of was my family bunkered down and preparing for a storm. I felt like I should have been there with them. That night was very restless. I’ve never felt so helpless.”
During and after the storm hit her hometown, Cherrier worried about her family who would be affected.
“It was really nerve-wracking for me because I had a hard time getting through to them on my cell phone,” she said. “But when I could get through, at one point my mom told me water was beginning to leak down the walls some, and the wind was very strong. But again, she tried to mask any fear she was having.”
Her family’s homes had little damage, but houses nearby were heavily damaged. The main issue was water and electricity.
“My family got (utilities) back after about three days, but I know some people did not get electricity again until just (Sept. 23).”
Cherrier said her family got through the storm and the aftermath with God’s power.
“My family has been so blessed,” she said. “I am so thankful for everyone’s prayers and support. It helped so much— more than anyone will ever know.”
Junior social work major Kaitlen Allen is from Pearland, Texas. Her family evacuated, but only just before the hurricane hit.
She said, “My family had been tracking Ike for about two weeks, and they never thought they would evacuate until one day before the storm hit land.”
Allen said they left because the Texas government persuaded them to leave.
“They evacuated to my grandparents’ in Leander, Texas, with two other families,” she said.
After five days, her family was allowed to go back to the Houston area. There was no power when they arrived.
“For four days they all slept in the same room and survived by a generator, while cleaning up the destruction around them,” she said.
While the storm had left normal life in a lurch, many people tried to keep certain details of their life unchanged.
“Even though no one in Pearland had power on Sunday, Sept. 21, my church, Crosspoint Fellowship, held one 10 a.m. service in the heat and had more than 400 people from the community attended,” she said. “It was just awesome how God was able to work even through the circumstances.”
Her family got electricity Sept. 23.
Sophomore nursing major Kayla Mansell from Tomball said she had no idea hurricane Ike would be so strong.
She said she had to “just remember that God is in control …. Let Him have control and be God helped.”