Navajo Family Evacuated from Texas Home

Courtesy photo
Phillip Bedonie uses two inflatable mattresses to transport his family, with their dog Tucker, to safety on Wednesday.

Published September 3, 2017

PORT ARTHUR, TEXAS -The loud engines for the pumps that keep a town 91 miles east of Houston from flooding went out at about 1:30 Wednesday morning, according to a Navajo mother of four boys who lives in Port Arthur, Texas.

“We noticed that we couldn’t hear them anymore,” said Trinda Bedonie, originally from Hard Rock, Arizona.

Tuesday morning, her husband told her family that the water had come up to the third step at the front of their home.

“We slept in the attic that night,” Bedonie said.

As the rain – which fell since Monday – kept coming, more and more water came into their home.

“Next thing you know, water started coming in from our front yard, from our back yard, from everywhere,” she said.

The next disruption in the noises they were used to came with the helicopters coming in to rescue residents in the area. Bedonie said first responders told her that the 911 system had been overwhelmed as the waters rose, and officials had been surprised by the unanticipated weather.

“It was not supposed to come this way,” Bedonie said. “It was supposed to go up toward San Antonio, but we got the tail end of it.”

Soon, they had to leave their home. Phillip Bedonie filled up air mattresses as the family gathered to head out. With the dog atop one mattress and the family wading alongside, they saw boats and neighbors nearby. Evacuees headed for a nearby street above the waterline.

“The boats only take you so far,” Bedonie said.

From there, a fleet of volunteers driving semis, flatbeds and even dump trucks transported the displaced to Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. The family spent a night there and returned to town according to Bedonie. They are now at Thomas Jefferson Middle School in Port Arthur.

The kids are safe. The family is safe. The dog is safe. But, the Bedonie said they lost everything.

“We lost everything,” she said. “Our car is underwater.”

Phillip and Trinda Bedonie have four sons ages 22, 15, 11 and 7.

Her daughter, who lives in Australia, started a gofundme campaign Wednesday to help her family back in the United States.

“Will keep you updated on their situation every step of the way,” Ashlyn Coppen wrote on the crowdfunding page.

Editor’s Note: This article was first published by the Navajo Times. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

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  1. mary malboeuf 3 months ago