John Shepard

John Shepard has lived in Kingwood since the 1980s and has experienced several hurricanes and tropical storms. When Hurricane Harvey began to affect Houston, Shepard and his wife were are their second home in Wisconsin. He heard about the flooding in his neighborhood from a neighbor and he decided to drive back to Houston to help. He packed his truck with a generator, electric pumps, and waders and drove the 1400 miles back to Houston. When he got to Texas, he called his children who also live in Kingwood and asked for the best directions to his neighborhood.

He was only able to drive to a location near his house and had to walk the rest of the way through flood waters. Shepard says that his neighborhood was the location of a lot of rescue activities and helicopters were airlifting residents from their roofs. Shepard’s house is on a high point in his neighborhood and did not flood, but just down the street flood waters covered the stop signs. He was able to communicate and get news while he was in Houston because he had brought a generator with him, but he says that he was mainly focused on his own neighborhood. Shepard explains that the hardest part of the storm was trying to relate to neighbors, who had lost everything while he lost nothing. One neighbor was in South Dakota during Harvey, so Shepard and his neighbors worked to take out flooded material from the house. Many people in Kingwood did not have flood insurance, and Shepard remembers the process to get aid from FEMA was very complicated. He remembers a natural comradery, as everyone was helping in any way that they could. Shepard stayed in Houston for two weeks volunteering in his neighborhood before he returned to Wisconsin.