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Experiences, lessons differ for some local residents who braved Hurricane Harvey

Jack Gant tells what he learned from Hurricane Har
Posted at 5:17 PM, Aug 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-25 23:42:30-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With many people not around for the previous major hurricane in 1970, you can say Hurricane Harvey was a learning experience.

“It was one of the most devastating things I've ever been through in my life,” Rockport native Brian Burks said.

Many took the warning to evacuate when Hurricane Harvey approached it’s peak form.

However, others stuck around for their own reasons.

Burks was one of those people who stuck around. He was working for the Fulton Fire Department.

Burks said think of a hurricane like you’re going over the hill of a roller coaster and your heart drops in your stomach. Imagine having that feeling for 12 hours.

“(What) I learned, number one, is I will never sit through another hurricane in my life," said Burks. "Something else I learned is a community can put stuff back together. It takes time.”

Burks started the storm at the fire department, but the building took too much damage for him to stay put. When the eye of the storm arrived over Rockport, that's when he made his move.

“We went to the school for the second half and I'm glad we did because I don’t think we would have made it past the second half," he said. "Just the emotions, I mean, we had stuff flying through that metal building and I wanted out of there.”

Burks said the hardest and happiest time of the Hurricane was the aftermath.

"I think the worst part of the hurricane is the first few months of cleanup," he said. "Once you get the cleanup out of there, people start seeing, like over the mountain. They start putting stuff back together and that was the best feeling to see people rebuild Rockport."

Jack Gant over in Port Aransas had quite the different experience. Gant didn’t evacuate thinking he’d be just fine. He said he was one of the fortunate ones.

While his friends and families had homes flooded, Gant’s home withstood the storm.

“A little generator in the garage that you could break out and fire it up. That’d be a good thought. We didn’t have one and we suffered,” said Gant, a lifelong resident of Port Aransas.

Gant said things got tougher after the storms passed. He said he got through the aftermath thanks to the Texas Guard and many kind volunteers at Cowboy Camp David.

“The rough time was no air conditioning in the end of summer. So humid because of the hurricane,” said Gant.

In the end, part of Gant's roof was ripped off, hundreds of bricks torn from his home and all the surrounding trees and fences vanished.

Would Gant stay if another Hurricane headed for Port Aransas?

“Probably just stay here. I’m 81 years old. I’m not going to run,” he said.

Gant was more curious than anything. He said the whole time he wanted to know what 130 mph wind in your face feels like. But he knows, that’d be awfully dangerous.

Burks on the other hand, has a different take.

"Even a lighter hurricane, I won't sit through any hurricane," said Burks. "Matter of fact, if a hurricane's coming, watch out, because I'm leaving."

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