Senior adults, children, families and staff affiliated with Buckner International ministries in Southeast Texas arrived safely at four Buckner locations across Texas. In all, nearly 200 Buckner-affiliated people displaced by Hurricane Laura were evacuated. Most of the evacuees arrived from Beaumont, Texas, which is expected to be in the path of the storm.
Children, staff and families from Buckner Children and Family Services in Beaumont arrived by bus at Camp Buckner near Burnet, Texas. The group unloaded shortly after 4 p.m., where they were met by Camp Buckner staff. The normally four-and-a-half-hour drive took twice as long, as nearly 400,000 people evacuate southeast Texas.
The first group arrived at Parkway Place in Houston in the late afternoon. Buckner Villas in Austin received the second group around 10 p.m., while the largest group of senior adults and associates pulled up to Ventana by Buckner® in Dallas at 10:30 p.m.
Residents from Calder Woods in Beaumont were evacuated from the senior living community and transported by bus to Ventana by Buckner in Dallas as Hurricane Laura is predicated to make landfall on the upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coasts Wednesday evening
“Yesterday was a long journey for our Beaumont children, seniors and staff, but once they reached their destinations, they were met with all the love and support we expect from our Buckner teams,” said Albert Reyes, Buckner International president and CEO.
Throughout the hurricane evacuation, steps were taken to mitigate risk associates with the coronavirus pandemic. In accordance with CDC guidelines, Buckner staff and clients wore masks and exercised social distancing to the best of their abilities
“This has certainly been a year of challenges,” Reyes said, “But as Joshua 1:9 reminds us, ‘Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.’ At Buckner, we will continue to overcome all obstacles through our faith and our commitment to the service of those most vulnerable.”
Currently classified as a Category 3 hurricane, the National Hurricane Center predicted Hurricane Laura will become a Category 4 by the time it makes landfall on the upper Texas and southwest Louisiana coasts Wednesday evening. Category 4 is the second highest hurricane classification and includes sustained winds of 130–156 mph.
In anticipation of the storm’s impact, Jefferson County officials issued a mandatory evacuation on Aug. 24. “Major, catastrophic damage is expected,” wrote the National Weather Service.