Officers with the Seymour Police Department have “adopted” Sgt. Cody Davis of the Lumberton Police Department in Lumberton, Texas.
Davis, a 10-year veteran officer, was working the night Hurricane Harvey hit, dumping more than 50 inches of rain on his town over the course of several days.
When Davis returned home the next morning, he realized his own family needed rescuing. While he was able to get his wife, Andrea, and their two children, Emma, 9, and Cain, 3, and their pets out safely, the family lost everything they had due to the flooding.
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Once the rain stopped, the only part of their house that was visible was the top 2 feet of the roofline. They lost both vehicles and their house and everything in it.
Davis returned to his house several days later once the water receded and saw nothing was salvageable.
“I was proud to be a part of rescue and recovery, yet at the same time, it was heavy at the end of my shifts knowing how much we lost,” he said.
The couple have weathered three hurricanes together — Rita, Ike and now Harvey.
They do not live in a floodplain, so they do not have flood insurance, Andrea Davis said.
“We were fortunate in that Rita did not cause damage to our town, but our area was a relief site for those that were displaced,” she said. “Many evacuees from New Orleans and surrounding areas came to southeast Texas, and some are still here today.”
No one knew Harvey would be as devastating as it was, she said.
“Harvey was unexpected in that no one in our area had any clue we would get catastrophic damage,” she said.
The storm hit Corpus Christi and then stalled over southeast Texas before turning back into the gulf, strengthening and then hitting Lumberton directly the second time.
The area received more than 50 inches of rain in a week.
“On top of that, the bayous and rivers had nowhere to drain, so they began to flood, and eventually, the lakes had to open the dams to keep them from breaking, which released even more water,” she said. “It was a combination of unexpected problems from Harvey that caused the devastation in our area.”
Andrea said she checked the water level outside their home every hour. Her last picture and video was at 2 a.m. Aug. 28, and the water was still 40 yards away, she said.
When Cody came home from work just after 5 a.m. and pulled onto their street, he said the water was deep, and he was barely able to make it to the house.
“The bayou and creek were overflowing at a fast pace, and the water had reached our porch,” Andrea said. “(Cody) slammed open the door and started yelling for us to get up and get in the truck or we wouldn’t be able to get out.”
Living in an area that can get hurricanes, the family had all of their important documents in one place, so Andrea grabbed those and some clothes for the kids, she said.
They were able to get out and go to the police station, and Andrea and the kids went to the police chief’s house.
“Cody made it back into the neighborhood, but the water rose while he was getting our animals, and that’s when we lost the truck,” Andrea said. “He kayaked our cat out, and our lab swam, and that’s how he made it out. I’ll always be grateful that he saved our fur babies, too.”
The family currently is living in a borrowed camper and have been given clothing and supplies by their local community. They are in need of financial assistance at this time because they do not have space for donated items, Andrea said.
The most they can get from the Federal Emergency Management Agency is $33,000 if they qualify, she said. Although helpful, it still does not cover the cost of what they have lost, let alone the cost to rebuild.
“Our immediate needs have been filled by friends, family, the Red Cross and our local police department,” Andrea said. “Our concern now is how we pay off our existing mortgage and fix our home at the same time. We owe close to $80,000, so it’s a heavy problem to solve.”
Both Cody and Andrea have jobs, and Cody works side jobs on his days off, she said.
“I’m worried we will hardly get to see him,” she said.
The Seymour Police Department has set up a GoFundMe account for Sgt. Davis and his family with a goal of raising $10,000. As of Monday afternoon, $1,075 had been donated in just one day.
Seymour Officer Jacob Florine said he learned of the Davis family through a contact on the Indiana Going Blue Facebook page. The Indianapolis-based organization was started in 2014 for communities to support first responders and their families in Indiana and across the country.
“We at Seymour Police Department want to raise awareness and help this family continue to move forward,” Florine said.
Andrea said there are no words for how thankful she and her family are for the support Seymour is showing.
“It’s incredible,” she said. “Never could we have ever imagined that Officer Florine would hear about our story and reach out to us. We aren’t the kind of people to ask or accept help, so it has been difficult to admit that we need it, but we are extremely grateful.”
The family is planning to rebuild their home.
“We truly believe it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, but we will have flood insurance moving forward just in case,” she said.
Although it’s difficult to lose a home and belongings, Andrea said everything can be replaced.
“I remind (the kids) that Daddy saved us and (our pets), and we can be happy no matter where we are as long as we’re together,” she said.
Anyone can help the Davis family by donating via GoFundMe at gofundme.com/yy8gmr-hurricane-harvey-back-the-blue or by bringing cash, a check or gift card donations to the Seymour Police Department. Checks should be made payable to Cody and Andrea Davis and write “TX LEO Harvey Donation” on the memo line. Gift cards from Walmart or Target or Visa cards also will be accepted.
All cash, checks and gift cards will be given directly to the Davis family, and all proceeds from GoFundMe will be given to them, too, Florine said.
“If you have been looking for a way to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, this is a great way to do it,” Florine said. “Please help us help Sgt. Davis and his family so he can continue serving those in his community. Thank you in advance for sending a little Hoosier hospitality to the Lone Star State.”
Sometimes, we have to rely on others to help, even if they are strangers from a different state.
“If we could fix all of our and our neighbors’ problems, we would, but this time, we can’t,” Andrea said. “With Indiana’s help, we will come back stronger than ever, and we will pay that forward in the future.”
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Sgt. Cody Davis and his family of Lumberton, Texas, lost their home and belongings in Hurricane Harvey.
Donations can be made through GoFundme at gofundme.com/yy8gmr-hurricane-harvey-back-the-blue.
Cash, check or gift card donations can be made at the Seymour Police Department, 205 N. Ewing St., Seymour, 47274. Checks should be made payable to Cody and Andrea Davis with “TX LEO Harvey Donation” on the memo line. Gift cards from Walmart or Target or Visa cards also will be accepted.