Wilmington native sees Harvey’s destruction firsthand


PORTLAND, Texas — Wilmington native Regina Esslinger has seen firsthand both the destruction of Hurricane Harvey and the outpouring of help and donations coming into Texas in the storm’s aftermath.

The graduate of Wilmington High School and Wilmington College (‘91 and ‘96, respectively) lives in Portland, Texas, about 25 miles north of where the eye of the hurricane hit in Rockport Harbor, where her husband Justin works.

“It was really destructive over there,” Esslinger said.

Their home was damaged by wind and rain that forced them to evacuate for 3-4 days, with no electricity for about a week.

“We didn’t know what we were going to come home to, but we just had some basic damage to roofing and fencing, as opposed to the flooding that devastated other areas.

“In Houston, it ruined homes from the bottom up,” said Esslinger, who works as a human resources manager in Corpus Christi along the gulf coast.

The building in which she works was spared, but, “Some co-workers lost homes; whether they’re totally gone or still standing, mold will remain on the inside.”

The building in Rockport Harbor where her husband works for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Coastal Fisheries received some damage, but not nearly what others experienced.

There was a lot of destruction around his building, so he went to help at his department’s other location.

“Some buildings that have been there forever are gone now,” Esslinger said.

“A lot of people who live there are trying to get their lives together. Schools are closed indefinitely; hopefully in three to four months they’ll get back to some normalcy.

She said that the generosity of Americans has been amazing.

“I want to stress that so many people have been so generous,” she said. “And the people hare are so thankful. They appreciate the outpouring of help.

“I hope in the months and years to come people aren’t forgotten,” she added. “They’ll still need help and it’s going to be a long haul.”

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Aeris McDaniel — a seventh-grader at Wilmington Middle School — along with her father and brother and others went to Texas over the long weekend to deliver 2-3 tons of livestock feed as well as vet supplies.
http://www.recordherald.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2017/09/web1_IMG_0422-1.jpgAeris McDaniel — a seventh-grader at Wilmington Middle School — along with her father and brother and others went to Texas over the long weekend to deliver 2-3 tons of livestock feed as well as vet supplies.

By Tom Barr

tbarr@wnewsj.com