Just past midnight, about 36 hours after Hurricane Harvey first made landfall in southeast Texas, flood water began seeping through a side bedroom and front door of James Lloreda’s home in Dickinson, Texas, about 25 miles southeast of Houston.
“The night of the storm, we heard loud thunder and lightning, very hard rain and the wind started picking up,” said Lloreda, a used-car manager at Ron Carter Automotive in Alvin, Texas, who began working at the dealership 16 years ago. “We lost power within 30 minutes. We could not see.”
As the water began to rise, Lloreda, along with his wife, Christine, and daughter, Haley, saved what they could, placing pictures and clothes in plastic containers and putting them in the attic.
“My wife and daughter were crying and scared. The water was coming up so fast we didn’t know what to do,” he added. “When you looked outside my home it looked like a river. We panicked. We had nowhere to go. We were trapped.”
Early the next morning, Lloreda and his family were rescued in a boat and spent one night in a shelter. They are currently staying with relatives.
“It was neighbors helping neighbors,” he said commenting on the rescue. “Water was up to our knees at home, and outside it was up to our chests on the street.”
Three days later, Lloreda returned to examine the condition of his home where they have lived for the past 10 years.
“It’s unlivable. We pulled out the carpet and sheetrock. It’s been gutted,” he said. “I lost 80 percent of everything in my home. The furniture is gone. We tried to save as much as we could.”
As of September 7, the NADA Foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund has received more than 500 applications from dealership employees.
“I wouldn’t want anyone to experience what I experienced. It’s tough,” Lloreda said. “We are starting over.”
Dealership employees who sustained personal property damage caused by the hurricane and flooding can apply for financial assistance. (Lost wages or commissions are not eligible for reimbursement.)
The NADA Foundation is calling on dealers, dealer association groups and others to donate online to its Emergency Relief Fund, which is dedicated exclusively to providing financial assistance to dealership employees.
Personal or corporate checks can be made payable to Emergency Relief Fund, c/o NADA Foundation, 8400 Westpark Drive, Tysons, VA 22102. For more information, call 703.821.7102. (Donations to the NADA Foundation are generally tax-deductible; contributors should consult their tax advisors for details.)
Since 1992, the NADA Foundation’s Emergency Relief Fund has provided more than $6 million to 9,200 dealership employees and their families across the country.