More than two weeks after Hurricane Harvey made landfall, some families are heading back to the Coastal Bend for the first time since the storm.
Rosendo Mendoza and his family were in the process of renovating their 10-year-old Rockport home when Harvey hit. They fled to Wyoming to stay with relatives and returned over the weekend to assess the damage.
“It was sad to see everything you ever worked for is just gone,” Mendoza said.
“The loss of our home, the place we lived… you work to accomplish things to show your children, show them the American dream and it’s been wiped out, it kind of hurts,” he said as he held back tears.
As he walked through the home, which he said was a total loss, he said it was “heartbreaking” to see what the storm left behind. “I was hoping for the best when I got here, I wasn’t expecting it to be this bad,” Mendoza said.
“Everything is completely blown down,” he shared, explaining that most of the home was ruined by water and wind.
“I see a lot of work that has to be done,” he said, now worrying about the cost to rebuild.
“I didn’t have insurance, because I couldn’t afford insurance. It was just too much. They said the house had to be 85 percent done,” he explained.
Mendoza said lessons could be learned from the hurricane.
“For the future, build your house out of concrete. It would be common sense by looking at the damage of all the houses here. Better off building with concrete and rebar and build a stronger and better foundation. Kind of like America,” he mentioned.
Mendoza said his upcoming plans include “going back to Wyoming, and going to work in the oilfield, [to] drive a truck out there.” He said that with no place to stay in Texas, working on rebuilding his home would be difficult.
“I am a working poor man,” he said.
Mendoza started a GoFundMe page to raise money for a mobile home to use while he rebuilds.
“We are going to rebuild but it’s going to take time,” he said. “Figure for us another year or year and a half before hopefully we can complete everything and get everything back to normal.”
“[I] can’t stop, got to keep pushing forward, work through this and get through it,” Mendoza added.