This Labor Day, like many others, saw people spending time outdoors at local parks and lakes. Though enjoying the day, many were contemplative considering the recent devastation along the Texas gulf coast caused by Hurricane Harvey.
Tyler neighbors Stephanie Jones and Kristi Corey visited City Park in Whitehouse with their children. Corey stated she and her children would “normally go to Dallas” to spend time with family, but this year they were spending it “with our neighbor,” indicating Jones.
Corey called this year’s Labor Day “a time of reflection” because while “we get to sit here and enjoy our families and not have to work, there are many that are there [in the gulf coast region] that don’t have that luxury.”
Jones reported her sister and family live close to Dickenson, but they were “fortunate that they did not have any damage to their home or neighborhood… We just really have to count our blessings that we are able to come [to the park] and enjoy the day.”
We should “just do what we can in either sending gifts, or sending money to try to help those down there [hurricane affected areas], and pray for them especially,” she added.
Among those spending time at Lake Tyler were Carlos and Shawnna Claros, of Henderson, along with their children. Carlos works in Houston, but had returned home on Friday prior to the hurricane’s arrival. He has relatives living in Houston and his wife Shawnna has friends there, too, but all are doing well. Knowing their friends and family are safe allowed the Claros family to enjoy the day at the water with their three children for their “last day of summer” as a “normal day.”
Also at Lake Tyler was B.W. Faulk, of Tyler, along with his wife Cindy, daughter Hallie and Alex, Hallie’s boyfriend. While the Faulks typically spend their Labor Days waterside, they said this year felt different. They have family who reside in areas which have flooded and many of those members have evacuated to Diboll from which the Faulk’s have recently moved. Cindy stated her family members are all okay, but “they can’t all return home right now.”
Charlene Francis and Heather Hall, both of Arp, also enjoyed time at Lake Tyler. This was the first Labor Day they had spent at the lake and according to Hall they were “just hanging out.” Hall also stated she “just bought kayaks yesterday.”
Their purpose at the lake had less to do with it being the Labor Day holiday and more to do with having to “try them [kayaks] out.”
A young lady at the lake with Francis and Hall named Kyndle Dingler is a friend who lives in Lake Jackson. When asked if her house had been flooded she stated, “It’s about to be.”
Hall clarified saying, “Hers is the only house in the neighborhood not yet flooded but it [the water] is up to the house.” Hall commented that she had thought about those in the path of Hurricane Harvey saying, “Here we are getting to go have a good time and there are still people who are displaced.” Such a thought made her feel reflective this weekend.
Hall mentioned there were several businesses in Arp that had become drop points for donations and the community had sent “a ton of stuff.”
“Our community [Arp] is good at [rallying] together,” Francis said.