Flood displaces TX students

Severe flooding at the end of June left many homeless around Fort Worth.

BY HEATHER MOYER | FORT WORTH, Texas | July 6, 2004

"This worked in the way we hope all things work."

—Johnny Wray

Severe flooding at the end of June left many homeless around Fort Worth, including students at Texas Christian University's (TCU) Brite Divinity School.

But last Friday, Week of Compassion sent a grant to Brite Divinity School to help the 19 students and their families recover their losses after flash floods inundated many of the seminary's apartments.

"The water was up to two feet high, and it came up very quickly," said Ann Sewell, vice president of finance for Brite Divinity School. "This was definitely flash flooding."

She said many lost personal belongings, school books, and in a few cases, even their cars. The students and their families are now being housed on the main TCU campus until the repairs are finished on their old apartments.

"(The families) are safe and warm now, but they're not at home," said Sewell. "It's emotionally distressing. This is not an easy time for them, but they're real troopers.

We're working very hard to get our students back in their homes - it's our top priority right now."

The Week of Compassion (WOC) is a non-profit run by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) aimed at supporting people in emergency and long-term recovery situations caused by natural and man-made disasters. The organization supports programs all over the world that help refugees, missionaries, and numerous volunteer groups.

Johnny Wray, director of WOC, said they heard about the TCU students' plight from local contacts.

"This worked in the way we hope all things work. As we heard of the flooding, our office began making calls to churches in Fort Worth," explained Wray in an email. "Pastors contacted us and the (Disciples of Christ) area office in Fort Worth about Brite (Divinity School)."

Wray said he then called the president of Brite and it went from there. It was just good communication, he said.

The process of getting the affected students back to normal with the help of this grant will include a short application. "We're asking all negatively impacted students to fill out a form detailing their losses, and then we'll decide on the best use of the money to help them get their lives back together," Sewell said.

"Some won't know the full impact of this flood until they're able to move back into their homes."

The school is grateful for everyone who has helped thus far. "The support from WOC and local churches will help tremendously," said Sewell. "We greatly appreciate what everyone has offered."

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