STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
Highland Lakes residents who had to evacuate homes were grateful to several facilities in Marble Falls and the surrounding area that offered meals and shelter as they awaited word they could return to their homes.
Authorities began issuing evacuation orders in parts of the Highland Lakes early Tuesday, Oct. 16, as floodwaters rose along the Llano River and area lakes. Many evacuees sought shelter at Marble Falls Middle School before moving to First Baptist Church of Marble Falls.
One, Chuck Williams, who lives in an apartment near Pecan Valley Drive in Marble Falls, said he had enough time to grab his computer and his cameras.
“My brother called me pretty early,” he said as he stood in front of Marble Falls Middle School. He was on his way to a local pharmacy to purchase medication before heading to another shelter. “I wanted to see what was going on. I realized if the water came up more, I wouldn’t be able to get out. I got out without a machine I use to breath at night.”
His plan was to buy his medication then head to First Baptist Church of Marble Falls, which had opened its doors to residents. Church members were serving sandwiches, salads, chips, and beverages for lunch and preparing to serve dinner at 6 p.m. Some men were moving chairs out of the sanctuary to create space. The Red Cross was providing cots and supplies.
“I’m going to be all right overnight,” Williams said.
Bobbi Green of Highland Haven said she and her husband, Ron, could see Lake LBJ rising as the rain kept falling at about noon.
“We watched the water come up and go down, come up and go down,” she said. “It didn’t reach us.”
But a member of the Granite Shoals Fire Department did reach the couple and advised them to leave, telling residents they expected the surge to be at least 5 feet or more within the hour of contacting them.
“Water was up to the one-hundred year floodplain,” Green said. “That’s what we were told.”
The couple went to the Highland Haven Community Center first and were told they could stay there until the water rescinded then immediately told that once the gate to the center closed, they would be stuck. So they called their daughter, Tracy Powell of Meadowlakes, and learned residents there were also leaving their homes.
That’s when they learned First Baptist Church of Marble Falls was opening its doors for displaced residents.
The Greens felt more comfortable going to their home congregation, First Baptist Church of Marble Falls. The two had a made a plate of food and were sitting down to eat.
“I’m delighted to be here,” Bobbi Green said. “It’s a safe place to be. I want to go home, and I want it to be dry when I go home.”
Pam and Jacob Hines, new Highland Haven residents, followed the Greens to First Baptist Church. Pam Hines said she and her husband left their home when they heard members of the Granite Shoals Fire Department blast a message advising residents to clear the area. They had stopped at First Baptist Church to grab a quick bite then head to Austin to stay with their son. Volunteers told the couple to turn around and return if they found they couldn’t get to his home.
“They’re lovely people,” Pam Hines said of the Greens. “They were over there. They asked, ‘Where are you going?’ I said, ‘I don’t know where.’ They said, ‘Follow us.’ That’s what we did. What a blessing.”
Other area facilities taking in people evacuating include:
• Burnet Community Center, 229 South Pierce St. in Burnet
• Kingsland Community Center, 3451 Rose Hill Drive in Kingsland
• Inman’s Kitchen, 809 W. Young St. in Llano
• Church of Horseshoe Bay social hall, 600 Hi Ridge Road
• First Baptist Church of Granite Shoals, 505 South Phillips Ranch Road in Granite Shoals
Check DailyTrib.com Facebook page for updates on shelters.