It has been a week and a half since Hurricane Harvey first made landfall in Texas, and damage is still being assessed. The damage has been estimated to be a possible grand total of $190 Billion in total economic impact. There have been numerous stories of heroics, and the whole country seems to have banded together to try to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
When a major storm impacts such a large number of people, there is always the possibility of people taking advantage of other’s misfortune. There have been a number of reports about looting and other horrible crimes. Agnes Stanley, 89, of Houston, was one such unfortunate victim, but her story is even more horrific once you learn the details.
Agnes insisted she was going to stay put during the hurricane due to her limited mobility. Her neighbor Michele Poche told reporters that Agness “was not ambulatory,” and that neighbors retrieved Stanley’s paper every day, took her coffee, and they just all “pitched in to take care of her.”
After a couple of days when the waters began to rise dramatically, Poche, who is a trained paramedic, swam to Stanley’s home. That’s when she discovered the horrifying truth. Poche called Agnes’s son and requested to break a window to get into her home on August 27th. Unfortunately, it was too late as Poche saw Stanley had already drowned inside her home.
According To The Houston Chronicle:
An 89-year-old victim of the recent flooding spent decades of her senior years teaching Houston’s smallest adventurers about nature.
Agnes Stanley was a longtime volunteer with Houston Audubon’s Docent Guild, which develops educational programs at the Edith Moore sanctuary in west Houston.
Stanley worked specifically with the Titmouse Club, a program that introduces preschool children to birds and botany to develop their interest in the environment.
“She was devoted and she loved that kids’ program,” said Helen Drummond, executive director of Houston Audobon. The bird conservation, education and advocacy organization owns 17 sanctuaries in the Houston-Galveston region.
The retired nurse also volunteered at a local Ronald McDonald House, Drummond said.
Stanley took a hiatus from volunteering to care for her husband. Recently widowed, she wanted to return to her work with children.
Stanley perished in her one-story brick home, flooded by the effects of Tropical Storm Harvey. Her body was found in four feet of water in the 4300 block of Meyerwood, very close to Brays Bayou. She is believed to have died on Sunday morning.
Stanley spent her years trying to help others and ended up losing her life in Harvey. Unfortunately, there are many tragic stories like this happening in Texas over the last week and a half. Poche recalled the events in more detail below:
“Rescue mode, yeah,” Poche said. “I knew my kids were safe. I wanted to take care of everyone else at that point.”
One of the first people that came to mind: her 90-year-old neighbor, Agnes Stanley.
She had insisted on riding out the hurricane in her home.
“She had great difficulty getting around,” Poche said. “She was not ambulatory, neighbors brought her paper every day, brought her coffee, we all kind of pitched in to take care of her.”
She was too late.
“We saw that she was under the water, and we backed out and called 911,” Poche said. “We think that the water got too high and she may have drowned.”
The Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office confirms she drowned.
Her family, too upset to speak about her on camera, did tell us her body was recovered two days later.
Her home, as well as at least three others on this street, had been burglarized, according to the Houston Police Department.
“She was still in there,” Poche said. “The coroner was not able to get in until Thursday to pick her body up. Yeah, they broke into her house and stole stuff, too.”
HPD’s mounted patrol is on the lookout for thieves this afternoon, trying to keep these families from losing even more.
The Harris County Medical Examiner confirms a total of 29 storm-related deaths, and they expect there will be more as the waters start to recede and families are able to get back into their homes.
Harvey has left so much damage in its wake that it will take years or even decades to repair all of the damages. For some, the damage goes beyond infrastucture and cuts deeper. Many people tragically lost their lives to the storm. The lesson to remember is don’t underestimate these storms. You must be prepared.