When Texomans hear the date December 24th, 2009, images of heavy snow and ice may come to mind. Five years ago, the area welcomed a powerful winter storm on Christmas Eve, dumping 10 inches of snow and bringing travel to a standstill. But the date has another connotation to pastor Daniel Robertson.
"It's one of those 'restore faith in humanity moments.'"
Robertson was staying nearby The Lakeview Church of God on Christmas Eve in 2009, when a family knocked on the door and asked to use the restroom. He realized how hard it was snowing, and that cars were stranded everywhere along Highway 287 in snow drifts several feet deep. Robertson started sheltering people in the church, eventually helping 180 stranded travelers.
"That night, some of the ladies came and found drier goods, made food for them, made spaghetti, stuff that we had, and all night we went out with the highway patrol," Robertson said.
Robertson expected people to be frustrated at their current situation, sleeping on church pews and being away from their families. However, it was just the opposite. People were helping others they had just met hours before. Stories of an elderly couple helping with a strangers baby and a family who had just moved to the U.S. cooking food from their culture for everyone still make Robertson smile.
But his fondest memory is from Christmas morning. In the middle of breakfast, a little girl went up to the piano in the church's Fellowship room and started playing Christmas songs. And almost two hundred people, from all different places and backgrounds, starting to sing.
"It sort of felt like a movie," Robertson said. "Because all these different people that we had gathered up through the night from all over were singing, so it was kind of a warm, Christmas feeling."
No one at Lakeview has forgotten the blizzard, but not because of the weather.