Finding Refuge

Water flooded into the Burleigh family home as rain from Hurricane Harvey bore down on the Southeast Texas town of Vidor. What started as a flooded garage quickly turned into a flooded home with water up above the average person’s knees. As highways turned into rivers, La Shawn Burleigh thought about nothing but how to get her family out of the floodwaters. La Shawn, along with her father-in-law Charles Burleigh and daughter Chrysten Burleigh, found themselves trapped in their Orange County home after Hurricane Harvey went back out into the gulf, only to hit the coast again “wiping out the city of Vidor,” she said. The Burleigh family is now staying with friends in Pilot Point where 16-year-

Single father of four critically injured in wreck

When he played football for Pilot Point High, Tommy Wheeler ran like cartoon character Fred Flintstone, whose trademark expression was “yabba dabba doo.” So, naturally, Wheeler earned the nickname of “Dabba,” and the name has stuck. Folks are now rallying around Wheeler, 42, who lives and works in Pilot Point and coaches youth football. He was severely injured in a two-car collision on Sept. 14 on U.S. 377 south of Pilot Point. Wheeler was flown to Medical City Denton and remained hospitalized this week. A hospital spokeswoman said Wheeler is in guarded condition. He suffered multiple broken bones, internal bleeding and a punctured lung in the wreck. He has required multiple surgeries, and h

‘Absolutely devastated’ First responders shocked by scene

Pilot Point firefighter Chase Stanford and Aubrey police Lt. David Bruce say news photographs and video can’t begin to show what happened to people affected by Hurricane Harvey in Southeast Texas. Both men went to the area after the hurricane to provide assistance. Stanford helped rescue people, while Bruce did security. The amount of damage was extraordinary, Stanford said. He saw up close what happened when he went with three firefighters from North Shore Fire Department to Southeast Texas after Harvey to assist search and rescue efforts. The group deployed to League City, south of Houston and then eventually moved on to Harris County and then on to Port Arthur, near Beaumont, where they r

Advice from a survivor

Katrina taught a hard lesson, Bailey says Shileta Bailey has four words for the people affected by the tragedy of Hurricane Harvey: “God doesn’t make mistakes.” “I know that may not be what they want to hear right now,” said Bailey, whose family fled from Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and landed in Pilot Point. “It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but I’m a firm believer that God has a plan for us all.” After Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005, Bailey and her family were gridlocked in Monroe for more than two hours before making it to Shreveport. As Bailey left the place she called home, she sank deep into a pool of despair and anxiety. “I was devastated,” she said. “I was scared. I didn’t know what to

Standing up against hate

Editor’s Note: This story contains material that some readers may find offensive. The first letter written to Johnny and Saint James Limoges arrived two weeks after they moved into Providence Village in March. The letter called Johnny Limoges “white trailer trash” and told him to move and take his “n-----” wife with him. The Limoges did not move. Their neighbors responded with a Rise Up Against Hate event on Saturday, Aug. 26, to show support for Johnny and Saint James Limoges, a mixed race couple who have been targeted by an anonymous person with 20 letters of hate mail consisting of racial slurs, sexual references and threats. The letters were mailed to the Limoges family as well as member

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