Texas National Guard members head to Houston from WF


WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - In Wichita Falls around 35 Texas Army National Guard Members prepared to head to the Houston area to help flood victims impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey Monday night.

Many of these men and women are having to say goodbye to their husbands, wives and kids, but said they are doing it to help other families in their greatest hour of need.

They want those flood victims to know more help is on the way.

One woman from the Houston area was in Wichita Falls when she found out these soldiers are heading down South to help those Texans, like her daughter.

"Honestly I want to break down, I mean that's my home, I grew up there," said Cheri Ecker. "They're my family down there."

Ecker is from Pasadena, a city in Harris County, one of the 62 counties under Texas' Disaster Declaration.

Right now her daughter is caught in the middle of the flood produced by the storm. She feels helpless watching from the distance.

"I wanted to be there," said Ecker. "I mean it's my daughter, my grandbabies, they're my world."

While Ecker cannot be there for her loved ones, she finds comfort knowing others are heading that way.

Ecker spotted National Guard soldiers at Sam's Club in Wichita Falls loading up 1,500 cases of water to take to the Houston area and knew she had to say something.

"I thanked them for going out of their way to bring all this water because they don't have nothing down there," said Ecker.

Staff Sergeant Joseph Nichols, with the Texas Army National Guard, said he is sure they will be handing them out to other units.

On Monday night their mission was still unclear. Sgt. Nichols said there are many ways they can help. Like search and rescue, passing out supplies, cleaning up or handling security.

However, one thing is certain. They will do what they can. Sgt. Nichols said once they get down south local emergency management coordinators will tell them what they need.

While it is hard for these soldiers like Shante Conway, who is leaving her two-year-old daughter, to tell their loved ones they have to go.

"I dropped her off at daycare this morning and kissed her goodbye," said Conway. "I was like I don't know when mommy is going to be home, you know trying to hold back tears from leaving her."

Many said they are ready to help their fellow Texans.

"I feel really grateful that we're able to go out down there and help them," said Conway.

Conway has friends in Houston and said it is hard to see pictures of flooded roads and homes destroyed.

"Seeing those it just pulls at my heartstrings and it makes me feel good that I am able to go down there and do something," said Conway.

Rita Bavousett is on the other side of the goodbye. Her husband who works at Sheppard Air Force Base, and is one of the 12,000 answering the state's call.

"I'd love to be going with him, but you know we have to keep the homefront going while they're there, but I am really proud," said Bavousett.

She admits it is always hard to see him leave and that she worries about him.

"Because you don't know what kind of conditions they're going to run into down there," said Bavousett.

Shante Conway is a little nervous too because this is her first time being called by the National Guard. She said even though she does not know what to expect, she is ready to go.
The soldiers are expected to head to their unit in San Marcus Tuesday morning where they will get orders on exactly where they will be helping in the Houston area.

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