Rebuilding After the Flood | Part 1

Added on by Carolyn Van Houten.

It was Memorial Day weekend when the floods hit Texas.  In Wimberley, first responders said that the Blanco River rose 43 feet in three hours.  A house containing a family was washed away before the family could escape.  Their truck was still running--still waiting to carry the family to safety--long after the house and family were gone.  Rescuers pulled people to safety as the water fell almost as fast as it had risen.  In the following days, news crews and volunteer groups rushed in.  Meanwhile, just 30 minutes down the road from Wimberley, Blanco families were also struggling, but without the same aid.  The Bambergers were one of those families.  When I met them, it was a few days after the flood.  Their house was not cleaned out the way Wimberley homes had been.  Volunteers were nowhere to be found.  Everything they owned was caked in mud, overturned, beginning to mold or long gone.  Their three young daughters roamed the property, showing me the river that had ruined their home and changed their lives.  Their dad's business, a mechanic shop, was located on the property next to their house.  Most of his tools and equipment were also ruined or washed away.  Eventually, FEMA dubbed their county a disaster area and came in to offer assistance.  With the approximately $20,000 they got from FEMA, the Bambergers bought an RV to live in temporarily and began construction on their new house.  The house will sit on the same property, but is going to be on 8 ft stilts.  With extensive help from their family members, the Bambergers are building the home themselves.  The Express-News ran the first part of their story on Monday and will continue to run installments of their story as they rebuild their home and their lives.  These photos are only from the first three days I spent with the family, but those first three days felt like so much more.  Perhaps that is part of being on a journey with a family recovering from a tragedy or perhaps that is just how wonderful the Bambergers are.  I personally think it is a bit of both.  

Glenda Bamberger looks out of the back door of her home in Blanco, Texas on Friday, May 29, 2015. Bamberger, who was born and raised in Blanco, said, "We put everything into buying this house and now I am not sure we will want to rebuild."  The line on the wall to Glenda's left shows how high the water rose. 

Glenda Bamberger looks out of the back door of her home in Blanco, Texas on Friday, May 29, 2015. Bamberger, who was born and raised in Blanco, said, "We put everything into buying this house and now I am not sure we will want to rebuild."  The line on the wall to Glenda's left shows how high the water rose. 

Serenity Bamberger, 7, looks at the damage in her home in Blanco, Texas on Friday, May 29, 2015. Of the donations that have flooded in to help Serenity and her family, she said, "It is like Christmas."  However, her mother Glenda Bamberger said that Serenity and her sister Cielo were very upset at first.

Serenity Bamberger, 7, looks at the damage in her home in Blanco, Texas on Friday, May 29, 2015. Of the donations that have flooded in to help Serenity and her family, she said, "It is like Christmas."  However, her mother Glenda Bamberger said that Serenity and her sister Cielo were very upset at first.

Glenda Bamberger puts her hands on her head as she waits for her husband Jarrell Bamberger to pick out wood at Home Depot in Bulverde, Texas for the construction of their new home on July 11, 2015.  Their previous home was destroyed during the Blanco River flooding in May.  During the more than 13 hours that they worked on their new home that day, they visited Home Depot twice. 

Glenda Bamberger puts her hands on her head as she waits for her husband Jarrell Bamberger to pick out wood at Home Depot in Bulverde, Texas for the construction of their new home on July 11, 2015.  Their previous home was destroyed during the Blanco River flooding in May.  During the more than 13 hours that they worked on their new home that day, they visited Home Depot twice. 

Glenda Bamberger, right, and her husband Jarrell Bamberger, left, widen holes dug in their yard in Blanco, Texas on July 11, 2015.  Their home was destroyed in the floods that occurred in May along the Blanco River in Central Texas.  They poured a concrete pillar in each of the twelve holes for the house they are building to replace the one that flooded.  The house will be eight feet off the ground in the hope that it will not be affected by future floods on their property.  

Glenda Bamberger, right, and her husband Jarrell Bamberger, left, widen holes dug in their yard in Blanco, Texas on July 11, 2015.  Their home was destroyed in the floods that occurred in May along the Blanco River in Central Texas.  They poured a concrete pillar in each of the twelve holes for the house they are building to replace the one that flooded.  The house will be eight feet off the ground in the hope that it will not be affected by future floods on their property.  

Serenity Bamberger, 7, falls from a rope swing behind her house into the Little Blanco River on July 11, 2015 in Blanco, Texas.  Two months prior, the same river flooded their home destroying the majority of the family's belongings.  Despite the toll the river has taken, Bertha Rivera, Bamberger's grandmother, said, "The river bed was dry for years, so now that the water is here I tell the girls to take advantage of it all that they can."

Serenity Bamberger, 7, falls from a rope swing behind her house into the Little Blanco River on July 11, 2015 in Blanco, Texas.  Two months prior, the same river flooded their home destroying the majority of the family's belongings.  Despite the toll the river has taken, Bertha Rivera, Bamberger's grandmother, said, "The river bed was dry for years, so now that the water is here I tell the girls to take advantage of it all that they can."

Glenda Bamberger, right, tosses a towel at Serenity Bamberger, 7, after Serenity finished swimming in the Little Blanco River behind their home in Blanco, Texas on July 1, 2015.  A month and a half prior, the same river flooded their home destroying the majority of the family's belongings. 

Glenda Bamberger, right, tosses a towel at Serenity Bamberger, 7, after Serenity finished swimming in the Little Blanco River behind their home in Blanco, Texas on July 1, 2015.  A month and a half prior, the same river flooded their home destroying the majority of the family's belongings. 

Jarrell Bamberger talks to his wife Glenda Bamberger about what they need to start building their home while their daughter Esmebella, 9 months, sits in their shopping cart at Home Depot in Bulverde, Texas on July 10, 2015.  They began construction on their new home the next day.  

Jarrell Bamberger talks to his wife Glenda Bamberger about what they need to start building their home while their daughter Esmebella, 9 months, sits in their shopping cart at Home Depot in Bulverde, Texas on July 10, 2015.  They began construction on their new home the next day.  

Glenda Bamberger rubs her forehead while she looks at a receipt for the sand and rocks needed to make the cement for the pillars that will hold up their new house.  The supplier only delivered a portion of the order and the Bambergers were concerned about whether they had enough to finish pouring all of the cement pillars that day. She and her husband Jarrell Bamberger drove to the sand and rock supplier to ask for the delivery of the rest of the order in Blanco, Texas on July 11, 2015.   The supplier was closed when they arrived. Before her parents left to see the supplier, Cielo Bamberger, 10, said, "I always heard the saying 'cheap as dirt,' but this dirt ain't cheap."

Glenda Bamberger rubs her forehead while she looks at a receipt for the sand and rocks needed to make the cement for the pillars that will hold up their new house.  The supplier only delivered a portion of the order and the Bambergers were concerned about whether they had enough to finish pouring all of the cement pillars that day. She and her husband Jarrell Bamberger drove to the sand and rock supplier to ask for the delivery of the rest of the order in Blanco, Texas on July 11, 2015.   The supplier was closed when they arrived. Before her parents left to see the supplier, Cielo Bamberger, 10, said, "I always heard the saying 'cheap as dirt,' but this dirt ain't cheap."

Cielo Bamberger, 10, and Esmebella Bamberger, 9 months, hang on their mother Glenda Bamberger while their sister Serenity Bamberger, 7, digs in the dirt outside of their RV on their property in Blanco, Texas on July 1, 2015.  The family is living in the RV, which is parked in front of their flood-damaged home, while they build a new house on eight-foot pillars on the same property.  The dog, known as Buddy or Bear, showed up on their property after the floods and has stayed since.   Glenda said that she thinks he was carried far from his home in the floods, because none of their neighbors in the area have claimed him.  

Cielo Bamberger, 10, and Esmebella Bamberger, 9 months, hang on their mother Glenda Bamberger while their sister Serenity Bamberger, 7, digs in the dirt outside of their RV on their property in Blanco, Texas on July 1, 2015.  The family is living in the RV, which is parked in front of their flood-damaged home, while they build a new house on eight-foot pillars on the same property.  The dog, known as Buddy or Bear, showed up on their property after the floods and has stayed since.   Glenda said that she thinks he was carried far from his home in the floods, because none of their neighbors in the area have claimed him.