Raging floods in central and south Texas over Memorial Day weekend forced a United Methodist couple onto the roof of their home, where the husband lost his grip and the wife sang hymns until a rescuer arrived.
"This is not an act of God. This is a storm, and this is what happens. How we react is what makes the difference."
– Rev. Dana Hamilton, Wimberley UMC
Larry Thomas, 74, was swept away and died in the floods that engulfed houses along the Blanco River in Wimberley, Texas. By Wednesday, authorities had recovered and identified his body. His wife, Carol, survived with scratches and bruises.
The Thomases have been active members of Wimberley UMC, and Carol Thomas teaches kindergarten at nearby Dripping Springs UMC's Pathways School.
“She spent about six hours singing church hymns” while holding on first to a satellite dish and its cable, then as the waters receded coming to rest on a red-tipped photinia hedge, said Jenny Aston, the school’s director.
The ordeal began late Saturday night, and Carol Thomas was rescued early Sunday morning by a neighbor in a boat, Aston said.
Perhaps as many 20 families of Wimberley UMC, including the Thomases, lost homes as a wall of water came down the Blanco, said Rev. Dana Hamilton, pastor.
Rev. Bill Henderson, superintendent of the Hill Country District of the Rio Texas Conference, mourned the losses.
“We’ve been praying for rain. We just didn’t want all of it to come at one time,” Henderson said. “The cost has been tremendous in property and human lives.”
Conference gathering goes on
Flooding caused problems across much of Texas, including Houston, where the Texas Conference was having its annual gathering at a downtown hotel.
Bishop Janice Riggle Huie decided the meeting, which concluded Tuesday, had to continue on schedule. Voting machines and hotel space were under contracts that could not be extended.
To read more of this UMNS report, click here.