Sunday July 12th, 2020 3:49PM

Texans displaced by Harvey readjust plans for holiday feast

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

HOUSTON (AP) — The kitchen where George and Arva Dorsey prepare an 18-dish feast every Thanksgiving has been stripped of everything but its granite countertops, standing on their own with no appliances below. The house they renovated and expanded over three decades has been gutted down to its wooden beams.

Almost three months after Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas Gulf Coast, killing more than 80 people and damaging at least 200,000 homes, the Dorseys and other families are celebrating Thanksgiving however they can.

"We try to keep our head up, and we know that God is above all," said Arva Dorsey, sitting next to her husband in the dining room where they would have served Thanksgiving dinner. "So many of the blessings have come through this disaster. We're just grateful."

George Dorsey said one possibility was the family — including some members from out of town — could spend Thursday with a friend. Or they might go to a local buffet-style restaurant for turkey and trimmings.

Some people are gathering at churches that have held large meals for people displaced by the storm and volunteers spending the holiday away from their families to help rebuild. Others will go to annual events like Houston's "Super Feast," where volunteers this year will hand out clothes and supplies along with turkey and stuffing.

Furniture store owner Jim McIngvale — a Houston icon known as "Mattress Mack" — is opening one of his Gallery Furniture locations for a feast that starts at 10 a.m. Thursday.

In Houston, the nation's fourth-largest city, there are plenty of signs of progress. Blocks that had piles of debris on every front lawn are being cleared. Work crews are in neighborhoods all over the city, and nonprofit groups have distributed hundreds of millions in aid.

But more than 47,000 people across Texas, including the Dorseys, are still staying in hotels with vouchers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Others are staying with family members or have left Southeast Texas altogether, abandoning mortgages on homes that were wrecked by floodwaters. Some people are still living in apartments infested with mold.

The Dorseys were rescued from their home the second night of the storm by a National Guard truck, with Guardsmen pulling them out of floodwaters that had reached several feet and still rising.

The Guard took them to a nearby Baptist church, where they slept for two nights on the floor until cots arrived. They spent a week at the church, where they celebrated their 35th anniversary with a dance as other evacuees toasted them holding paper cups filled with punch.

Dozens of volunteers from churches all over the world have since arrived in their neighborhood, many of them unprompted, to help rebuild.

George Dorsey, 59, walked through his house last week as volunteers from the group Samaritan's Purse worked inside and on the roof. The staccato sound of nail guns rang out as he talked. The air inside was dry, but dusty.

Dorsey retired after 25 years working at an ExxonMobil plastics plant and now serves at a deacon at his church. With the booming voice of a preacher, Dorsey told long stories about the history of each room and his four sons, ranging in age from 31 to 16.

Arva Dorsey, 58, sat outside with a few of her neighbors, smiling and joking wryly about how much her husband could talk. She had a walker in front of her. The first time she came back to the house, she slipped on a step where water had seeped in from the drywall. She tore the cartilage in her left knee and had surgery earlier this month.

Among the things she's thankful for are the volunteers from Samaritan's Purse, not just for the labor they provided for free, but for offering to pray with her and asking about how her family was doing.

"I didn't even realize that I must have been depressed, or something was keeping me from doing what was keeping me from doing all the time," she said.

The Dorseys' typical Thanksgiving feast includes turkey, ham, macaroni and cheese, and several kinds of pies. But even if the kitchen had survived the storm, Arva Dorsey says it would have been too physically painful to spend three days preparing dinner as she normally does.

George acknowledged that part of him wished they were back in their house already. But he knew that he needed to let the foundation of the home dry out and take his time replacing what he had lost.

"The main thing is, I've learned to calm down and wait patiently for what God has for me," he said. "Just be hopeful, thankful, that you're still here. Life still goes on even when we're going through the storm."


Follow Nomaan Merchant on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nomaanmerchant


Sign up for the AP's weekly newsletter showcasing our best reporting from the Midwest and Texas: http://apne.ws/2u1RMfv .

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Texans displaced by Harvey readjust plans for holiday feast
A Texas family is readjusting its annual Thanksgiving feast as the home where it's normally been prepared undergoes renovations following Hurricane Harvey
8:56AM ( 5 minutes ago )
Zimbabwe, facing new leader, wonders 'Where is Mugabe?'
Zimbabwe, facing incoming leader, can't help wondering 'Where is Mugabe?'
8:51AM ( 10 minutes ago )
More help arrives in search for Argentine submarine
More help is arriving in a multinational search for a missing Argentine submarine with 44 crew members as concerns grow that the vessel's oxygen supply could soon start to run out
8:50AM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Westbrook's 34 points lead Thunder past Warriors, 108-91
Russell Westbrook scored a season high 34 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder roll past the Golden State Warriors 108-91
7:44AM ( 1 hour ago )
Heat top Celtics 104-98, snap Boston's 16-game win streak
Goran Dragic scored 27 points, Dion Waiters had 26 with a pair of big 3-pointers in the final minutes and the Miami Heat held on to beat Boston 104-98, snapping the Celtics' 16-game winning streak
11:11PM ( 9 hours ago )
Olympic gymnastics ex-doctor pleads guilty to sex charges
Former sports doctor accused of molesting girls while working for USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University pleads guilty to multiple charges of sexual assault
9:41PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Sports
Bills reverse course in having Taylor start against Chiefs
Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott is reversing course, announcing Tyrod Taylor will start at Kansas City on Sunday a week after his decision to start rookie Nathan Peterman backfired
6:27PM ( 14 hours ago )
Thanksgiving debut for Rivers also big for Chargers, Cowboys
Rivers makes Thanksgiving debut in high-stakes game with Chargers, Cowboys trying to stay in playoff contention
4:43PM ( 16 hours ago )
Suit over erotic fiction about NFL player Gronkowski tossed
A federal appeals court has spiked an Ohio couple's case against companies that distributed an erotic fiction book about a woman's desire for New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski.
4:05PM ( 16 hours ago )
AP Online Football
Trump presents his report card, passes with flying colors
President Donald Trump has a Thanksgiving Day message for the nation: Look at all I've done
6:55AM ( 2 hours ago )
Ships, aircraft search for 3 US sailors missing in crash
U.S. and Japanese ships and aircraft are searching in the Philippine Sea for three sailors missing since the crash of a U.S. Navy aircraft a day earlier
4:39AM ( 4 hours ago )
Balloons, Broadway stars and security at Macy's parade
New faces and old favorites will fly, float and march in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and police are going all-out to secure it in a year marked by attacks on outdoor gathering spots.
4:39AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP National News
Lewis, Urlacher, Moss, Seymour among hall semifinalists
First-year eligibles Ray Lewis and Randy Moss are among 27 semifinalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
11:53PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Source: QB Paxton Lynch to start for Denver
A person with knowledge of Broncos coach Vance Joseph's decision says former first-rounder Paxton Lynch will start against the Oakland Raiders next weekend
7:48PM ( 1 day ago )
Eagles, Pats, Steelers are top 3 in the latest AP Pro32 poll
Philadelphia Eagles remain No. 1 in the latest AP Pro32 poll
5:28PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Zimbabwe, facing new leader, wonders 'Where is Mugabe?'
Zimbabwe, facing incoming leader, can't help wondering 'Where is Mugabe?'
8:51AM ( 10 minutes ago )
More help arrives in search for Argentine submarine
More help is arriving in a multinational search for a missing Argentine submarine with 44 crew members as concerns grow that the vessel's oxygen supply could soon start to run out
8:50AM ( 12 minutes ago )
Papua New Guinea officials pressure refugees to leave camp
Papua New Guinea authorities have removed dozens of asylum seekers and ratcheted up pressure on more than 300 others to abandon a decommissioned immigration camp, where refugees reported their shelters, beds and other belongings have been destroyed
8:41AM ( 20 minutes ago )
Democrats also juggling politics of sexual predation
Facing Conyers and Franken allegations, Democrats, too, are juggling the hot-potato politics of sexual predation
8:30AM ( 32 minutes ago )
The Latest: Turkey says Syrians must negotiate Assad future
Turkish party official: Ankara made clear to Russia, Iran its reservations about Syria's Assad remaining president
8:14AM ( 47 minutes ago )