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The Winter Storm of 2021 Still Lingers

It has been a little over 6 months since one of the worst winter storms in Texas history swept through state. The record-breaking freeze left many without power, wrecked vehicles and brought absolute devastation to our state. While some Texans were blessed to have their homes and personal property spared, others suffered crippling losses from the storm.  Like many other organizations, Fowler was directly impacted by the harsh winter storm.

At 2:15 am on Monday, February 15th, we experienced our first power loss. Throughout the next several days, our team worked tirelessly to continue all essential care functions and to ensure our residents never missed a hot meal. Throughout this time, traditional job responsibilities vanished, and all hands were directed to the greatest need. Administrative staff could be found washing and changing bed sheets; Executive staff members shoveled snow and ice off sidewalks, and dining staff cooked meals by lamp light. As the temperatures rapidly decreased and the electricity faltered, our team remained steadfast and determined to remain on site. Twenty teammates, led by CEO Nicole Gann, stayed on site for eight days straight: sleeping on cots in common areas and resting when able. Other teammates braved the icy roads and worked double shifts for multiple days in a row – all to be in service to the residents that call Fowler home. We are blessed to say that none of our residents were displaced.  although temperatures inside some areas were in the range of 40-50 degrees at the coldest times, our residents were thankful for the abundance of blankets and hot soup.

Throughout the next few days, several pipes burst throughout our campus. Administrative offices in the Pearl Nordan Care Center and areas in Fowler Christian Apartments were flooded. The most severe damage occurred in the Partner’s Building, which houses our Foster and Adoption offices, as well as the newly renovated Youth Support Center. Recently opened in the Fall of 2020, the Youth Support Center was created to meet the need for intensive prevention, support and recovery services for at-risk children and youth, including those rescued from sex trafficking.  The building’s older sprinkler system froze, and the pipes burst with great force bringing down ceilings, damaging all offices and destroying most of the new furnishings in the Center. In typical Fowler spirit, the damage was quickly assessed and what could be salvaged was moved to the first floor of The Ebby House. Youth Services were interrupted but not stopped.

The damaged building now stands empty, gutted back to the studs. It’s not the only one – the Fowler Community Center experienced similar damage and remediation and cannot be used at this time for community meetings, trainings, or events. The broken pipes and damaged walls in the Pearl Nordan Care Center and Fowler Christian Apartments were immediately fixed.

Our entire Children, Youth and Family Services program has been impacted by this unexpected event. While we have insurance to help cover the more than one million dollars in storm damage, we also have a $100,000 deductible that must be met. As we look to repair the damage to these structures, we continue to provide much needed services to the children and youth in need of healing from trauma, abuse, and neglect. If you would like to make a donation to support this transformational work, please click here.

Author: Jamie Rodgers, Development Manager

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