By Daniel Johnson-Kim, Editor in Chief
While Trae Crockett stood on the sideline during the ACU football team’s home opener against Texas A&M-Kingsville Saturday, his family’s well-being was in the back of his mind.
Although Crockett said he was focused on beating the Lions, he could not help but think about his family who is now spread out across the state after evacuating Galveston in anticipation of Hurricane Ike.
“My first thought is take care of business,” said Crockett, junior management major from Galveston. “I thought, ‘Let’s just win this game, and after the game I’m going to go home if I can.'”
Hurricane Ike pummeled the Texas Gulf Coast Thursday and Friday, leveling houses, cutting off power, water and gas to numerous residents and causing, according to early estimates, more than $22 billion of damage to cities in the Gulf and Houston areas.
Several ACU students from the Houston and Gulf Coast have been in close contact with their familiesand friends back home, most of who are without power and are dealing with the damage caused by the hurricane.
“There is no power, no gas, no water,” Crockett said of Galveston. “It’s pretty impossible for anybody to live down there at this point.”
Crockett hopped into his 1998 Mitsubishi Galant Sunday afternoon and sped to Forth Worth where his mother, stepfather, grandparents, pregnant sister and her boyfriend were staying in a hotel. He was with them Monday evening and said school and football were probably the last things on his mind.
A Galveston police officer who is a family friend drove by Crockett’s house and confirmed that unlike several of his neighbors, his family’s house was still standing, Crockett said.
Although he is optimistic, he said the roof was caved in and he does not know if his family’s house is flooded or when his family can return home.
“We haven’t lost everything; we have our lives and we have each other,” Crockett said.
Daniel Winn, senior political science major from Houston, discovered his family’s beach
house on the Bolivare Peninsula was reduced to a pile of rubble after Ike moved through the area Thursday.
“It was like five houses down from the beach, so we figured it was going to be gone; I saw aerial photos of our neighborhood, and it’s not there anymore,”
The house his father and grandfather built about 35 years ago was the setting for several childhood memories, he said, and his family probably would not be able to travel to the Gulf and assess the damage for at least a month.
“It’s weird to think that last time I was there will be the last time I’m going to be there,” Winn said. “It probably won’t really kick in until I get down there and check it out.”
Like several other residents in the Houston area, Winn said his family decided to wait out the hurricane and are now without power. That was the story for the families of David Schlottman, senior political science major from Spring, and Cody Rollins, senior management major from Houston; both of them said their families’ houses received minor damage.
Schlottman said his father, a pilot for the Houstonbased Continental Airlines, helped evacuate the planes at George Bush Intercontinental Airport, and his mother was home alone while the storm trekked through the area Friday afternoon.
Rollins said Ike’s highpowered winds, which reportedly had gusts of more than 100 mph, uprooted several trees around his mother and stepfather’s house in the Woodlands, and one
pine tree blew over, broke through the roof and landed in the master bathroom.
“It was a little scary because I saw all the pictures, and I didn’t know if their house was still standing or what,” Rollins said.
ACU alumnus Cayce Garrison, a fifth-grade teacher in Baytown, evacuated to her aunt’s house in Fort Worth and said she does not know if her apartment was damaged.
While Ike was headed toward the Houston area, she said her school cancelled classes mid- Thursday and it was “a mess” to get in touch with the students’ parents and ensure everyone got home safely.
“They’re saying it could be anywhere from a week to a month until school is re-opened and life is back to normal,” Garrison said.