‘It makes me feel helpless’ — Texas woman stuck in GR fears for family’s safety from Harvey

Posted at 11:53 PM, Aug 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-28 23:53:15-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- As the state of Texas bands together to overcome the devastation that continues from Tropical Storm Harvey, a woman in West Michigan says she fears for her family as she sits helpless in the hospital.

Denise Hillery is in Grand Rapids because her husband Tino is in the hospital recovering from injuries he sustained last month when a van slipped off a jack and crushed his chest.

The accident happened July 6 while he was trying to repair the vehicle for a friend in the parking lot of the Motel 6 on Plainfield Avenue. He and Denise were here on vacation.

Now, Denise can only watch and wait as her father, sister and grown son, who all live in areas hit by Harvey, try to ride out the storm.

"I feel torn between my husband and my family back home," she said.

She has kept in contact with her family, but says spotty cell service only adds to her frustration.  Her sister Connie Robinson lives in Dayton, Texas.  The town is expected to be the first to hit the 40-inch water mark, with others soon to follow.

Robinson had to abandon her home when flood waters invaded.  She is now holed up with her husband's family near Liberty.

"So now we're stuck here, and we can't get to dad's because both highways are like lakes," she told Hillery.

Their father, Bill Foster, lives a few miles away in Crosby.  His house hasn't flooded, but water is rising.

Hillery was especially worried about her son Aaron's safety as he hunkered down at his home in a rural area of Cleveland, Texas, northeast of Houston.

Aaron says there's no way out, that all escape routes are under water.  He said one small grocery store opened its doors Monday, but couldn't offer much.

"Their lines are like all the way to the back of the store," he said.

As Harvey continues to hit the area, Denise says she feels powerless here in West Michigan.

"It makes me feel helpless," she said. "I wish I could be there."