New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - June 9, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
TEXAS LEGEND GUY CLARK TO PLAY GRUENE HALL WEEKEND, 7New Braunfels
SERVING NEW BRAUNFELS SINCE 1852
A YEAR LATER: THE JUNE 9, 2010 FLOOD
‘Real dark and rainy*
Survivors, officials recall flood
By Dakmdo Moultrie
Shawn Thornton of La Porte and his family were lucky.
Not only did the skies over New Braunfels ominously darken the afternoon of June 8, 2010, but his daughter had an ear ache.
"It got real, real dark and rainy," Thornton said Wednesday, sitting with his wife on the banks of the Guadalupe River near Bubba's Big Deck, watching their daughter play in the water. "Everywhere out here was black. It looked real bad outside."
That was it. The family vacation was over. They headed home, Thornton said.
"Between the ear ache and the rain, that afternoon," he said, "we left."
And lucky for them. Mere hours later, New Braunfels and the area were hammered by what many have only been able to describe as a "deluge" of water that sent the Guadalupe and the Comal River into flash flood stages.
Motorhomes, homes, recreational vehicles, work vehicles, camp sites and campers were washed away June 9 — one year ago today.
See FLOOD, Page 16
■ Campgrounds, outfitters spent hundreds of thousands recovering. Page 12
■ What has New Braunfels City Council done to address drainage problems?
■ Emergency responders have learned a lot since June 9, 2010.
■ Replacement, repairs of Landa Park bridges are ongoing.
Herald-Zeitung file photo
Gruene Road and the surrounding area are submerged under fast-moving flood water near Rockin’ R on June 9,2010.
Rescued man credits Boy Scout training
Family plucked from water battles memories year later
By WIH Wright
)im Wright was fished out of the Guadalupe River on June 9, 2010, after a short, but horrifying, experience.
Wright, now 73, was sipping coffee witn other campers at River Ranch RV Resort when the rains came and the y\/rjght water rose
— so quickly there wasn't time to think, much less act. Briefly trapped under his RV and truck, Wright cascaded downstream where he hung on for dear life.
On the front page of the next day's Herald-Zeitung, Wright was captioned as the "unidentified man" in a pontoon boat piloted by two New Braunfels firemen.
"I was in a tree behind the Schoebel's restaurant for about an hour before they were able to rescue me," he said.
Wright credits three
things for his survival: his whitewater survival training as a Boy Scout; remembering to keep level-headed in a crisis, and his scuba diving background, which teaches how to control breathing in rough waters.
Wright received a refresher course on how quickly water can rise.
"It was so powerful that it took me and the motor scooter and shoved us down under the trailer. I hit the first axle, missed the second one, and I got turned around just in time to see my unit start to rise and turn slightly. I figured both of them were gone."
Wright lost his scooter, his truck, his trailer and everything in it, and his two cats. However, he did pick up a nasty case of poison ivy as he clung to that tree behind the restaurant.
"The worst case I think I've ever had — I had it on every square inch of my body," he recalled, laughing. "It took two or three weeks for me to get over it."
By WHI Wright
The waters rose rapidly June 9, 2010 at Camp Huaco Springs, where the Forester family was nesting down for the night inside their trailer.
R.J. Forester opened the door, only to see a picnic table bumping against the camper. Seeing the water already waist-high, he told his family to dress for a rapid escape.
The North Texas family — R.J., now 54, wife Debbie, 49, and their 12-year-old daughter Sydney — marveled at the fury of the Guadalupe River, which rose so quickly they could only hang onto their sinking pickup truck and pray for the best. Engulfed by the floodwaters and separated from each other, each member of the family sailed to an unknown fate.
Rescued in three separate incidents, the Forester family made it through the most harrowing of ordeals. Tne memories are still tough to recall, but the thanks they give to God and the area people who aided them through it all, are lasting and endless.
Recently, they wanted to make sure everybody knew how they feel.
"We're still very grateful and blessed the outcome was the way it was," Debbie said. "The outreach of the people
Richard W. Rodriguez photo From left, Fort Worth firefighter R.J. Forester, his wife Debbie and daughter Sydney, age 11, survived being swept out of their camping area by a flash flood while camping in Guadalupe State Park in New Braunfels.
RELATED: Letter to the Editor, Page 4
there was amazing. The people who rescued Sydney, R.J. and myself went above and beyond. It makes you really believe that people can help each other out."
See FAMILY, Page 16
► AMID BACKLASH
Delta’s bag fees for troops revamped
Deployed American soldiers charged $200 each to check bags
Delta Air Lines hastily changed its baggage fees for troops Wednesday after a YouTube video showed soldiers complaining they had to pay $200 apiece to check extra bags as they made their way home from Afghanistan.
The video was posted Tuesday and was viewed almost 200,000 times before it was removed the next day by the person who put it up. By Wednesday afternoon, a Facebook page called Boycott Delta for Soldiers had sprung up, and the airline was backpedaling and apologizing to the soldiers.
In the video, "Delta Airlines Welcomes Soldiers Home," two Army staff sergeants say their unit was told it would cost $200 apiece to check a fourth bag on a Tuesday morning flight from the Baltimore-Washington airport to Atlanta.
The Defense Department typically reimburses such costs, which the soldiers may not have known before they made their displeasure known. The airline said late Wednesday that it would refund the fees if the government doesn't cover the bill. By then, the public relations damage to Delta was done.
One sergeant, Robert O'Hair, wearing a camouflage uniform and sitting inside the plane, says his fourth bag was a weapons case containing an M4 carbine rifle, a grenade launcher and a 9-millimeter pistol.
"The tools I used to protect myself and Afghan citizens wnile I was deployed," O'Hair says.
The other sergeant — Fred Hilliker of Allendale, Mich. — closes the video: "Good business model, Delta. Thank you. We're actually happy to be back to America. God bless America. Not happy, not happy at all. Appreciate it. Thank you."
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